Vickers Wins Busch Championship!
- Nov 15, 2003
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2003) – Brian Vickers became the youngest champion in NASCAR history on Saturday, clinching the 2003 Busch Series title in dramatic fashion at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Driving his No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet for the final time, Vickers finished 11th and nipped David Green for the championship by a mere 14 points, making it the second-closest margin of victory in Busch Series history. Green finished ninth in the race.
“It was a great day for us,” Vickers said. “It was a year ago at this time that Ricky (Hendrick) was fighting to get me in the car. I appreciate it and all the support from Hendrick Motorsports. This is the best organization out there and the support we got from GMAC and Chevrolet made all the difference.
“This team never gave up. We had some down times. We left Daytona 42nd in points and ended the year in first. I’m so proud of our team.
“I’m usually a very calm person and don’t get nervous very often. But today was probably one of the most nerve-wracking races I’ve ever had.”
In 34 Busch Series events this season, Vickers has posted three victories, 13 top-fives and 21 top-10 finishes. He also started in the top 10 on 23 occasions—more than anyone else.
GMAC Racing finished 42nd at the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, which put Vickers second-to-last in the Busch Series standings. Since that time, he has held the point lead on three different occasions, taking it for the final time following the Nov. 8 event at North Carolina Speedway.
At 20 years old, Vickers is now the youngest champion in the modern-era history of NASCAR’s top three divisions, supplanting Rob Moroso, who was 21 when he won the Busch Series title in 1989.
Ricky Hendrick, 23, became to the youngest car owner to field a championship-winning driver in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions. Hendrick was introduced as owner of the GMAC Racing team following the 2002 season and handpicked Vickers to pilot the No. 5 Chevrolets.
Hendrick Motorsports has now won nine championships in NASCAR’s top three divisions combined, including five in the Winston Cup Series (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001) and three in the Craftsman Truck Series (1997, 1999 and 2001).
The title is the first for Hendrick Motorsports in Busch Series competition after fielding full-time efforts for the first time in 2002.
Vickers and sponsor GMAC Financial Services will move to the No. 25 Chevrolets in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2004.