Vickers Grabs Top-10 Finish at Nashville
- Apr 14, 2003
LEBANON, Tenn. (April 14, 2003) – If you turned off the television during the early laps of the Pepsi 300 on Saturday, you missed a great race and it’s become apparent the GMAC Racing team has asserted themselves as one of the teams to beat every week.
On Lap 8, Brian Vickers spun his No. 5 GMAC Financial services Chevrolet exiting Turn 4, but was able to regain control without causing any damage to the car or losing a lap to the field.
The bad news, however, was that he was running in last place and the leaders were closing in. Vickers kept his composure and started to pick his way through the field one by one—literally.
During the first pit stop, crew chief Lance McGrew elected not to change tires and add only fuel in an effort to help gain track position. The decision worked as Vickers restarted the race in 20th on Lap 29. By Lap 65, Vickers moved into 12th and he wasn’t finished.
A caution flag on Lap 66 allowed the GMAC team to pit for fresh tires and fuel. Great work in the pits gained Vickers five more positions on the track and he restarted the race on Lap 71 in seventh.
Vickers continued passing cars methodically one-by-one and on Lap 166 he took the lead and started to drive off from the second and third-place teams with 59 laps remaining in the race.
Needing to make one final pit stop, Vickers gave up the lead on Lap 196 to pit for two fresh tires and fuel after pacing 30 laps. Following the service, Vickers re-entered the race in ninth, but an untimely caution flag on Lap 201 caught many of the teams who had just pitted one lap down, including the GMAC team.
It was obvious the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet was the fastest car on the track, but they needed another caution flag to be able to make up the lap and go for the win. Unfortunately, the caution flag never waved and the team finished ninth.
A last-lap pass allowed David Green, driver of the No. 37 Pontiac to capture the victory.
The strong finish vaulted the GMAC team to 10th place in championship points, just 210 markers behind the leader.
The GMAC Racing team will be off next weekend before returning to action at California Speedway on Saturday, April 26. Live coverage of the race will begin at 4 p.m. ET on the FOX television network and MRN Radio.
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