GMAC Racing Earns First Win!
- Aug 04, 2003
CLERMONT, Ind. (Aug. 2, 2003) - Finally!
After being so close on several occasions this season, Brian Vickers and the GMAC Racing team earned their first career NASCAR Busch Series win on Saturday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park after a hard fought battle with Shane Hmiel.
After qualifying a season-best third for the Kroger 200, it didn’t take long for Vickers to assert himself as a contender for the win, but it did take some patience on behalf of the 19-year-old driver to earn his first victory.
On Lap 58, Vickers moved into second place and 12 laps later he had tracked down the leader, but lapped traffic made the proceedings treacherous. On Lap 108, he pinned the No. 48 of leader Shane Hmiel behind a lapped car in Turn 2 and assumed the lead until the caution flag waved on Lap 110.
All of the lead cars pitted during the first caution flag of the race, including Vickers’ No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet. During the pit stop, the team changed four tires, added fuel and made an air-pressure adjustment to help loosen the car in the center of the corners.
Vickers exited pit road in second, behind the No. 2 Chevy of Ron Hornaday after his team elected to change just two tires.
Racing resumed on Lap 114 with Vickers in second, but on Lap 126 he took the point again until Hmiel passed for the lead shortly thereafter.
For the next 35 laps, Vickers tried everything to get around the No. 48, with the two cars making contact on several occasions during the intense battle. The sold out crowd—on their feet for the remaining 30 laps of the race—were treated to one of the best races in recent Busch Series history.
On Lap 181 of 200, Vickers made the final pass for the lead and drove off to his first career Busch Series win in 47 starts. It marked the 14th trip to Victory Lane for Hendrick Motorsports in the Busch Series.
“I just tried to be patient and wait until Shane’s (Hmiel) car started to fade away,” Vickers said. “It was an awesome race. We made contact several times and leaned on one another, but it was clean, fun racing.
“It’s unbelievable and I’m not really sure when it’s going to sink in that I’ve won my first race. We’ve been close so many times this season already and haven’t been able to close the deal until now.
“This team deserves a win so bad, especially after the race at Pikes Peak last weekend when we crashed out early. No one lost focus and we came to IRP probably with something to prove and to let everyone know we’re not out of this championship chase.”
The GMAC Racing team remains fifth in the championship standings, although the win gained them 25 points in the title hunt. Vickers now rests just 99 points behind leader Scott Riggs.
The Busch Series will take this weekend off before returning to action on Saturday, Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway. Live coverage of the event will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET on TNT and MRN Radio.
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- Jul 31, 2004