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GMAC Racing Prepares for Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2004) – Being a rookie in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series can be frustrating at times, especially at superspeedways like Daytona International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where help from other competitors is required.

After spending six days of on-track activity preparing for Sunday’s Daytona 500, one thing has remained a constant for Brian Vickers—no one is very willing to help the 20-year-old in “the draft.”

Being the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion doesn’t necessarily translate into respect from other competitors—at least not yet. 

Vickers, driving the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet, finished 20th in Thursday’s second Gatorade 125 qualifying race after starting 13th.

“We were going pretty good at the beginning,” Vickers said.  “Some of the guys were working with us and then everybody just left me hanging out to dry—bad. 

“I guess that’s part of being a rookie, I don’t know.  There’s just nothing you can do.  If nobody is behind you, you’re not going to be able to move forward.  All you can do is go backwards.”

By Lap 10 of the 50-lap event, Vickers managed to move into 11th before sliding back to 18th on Lap 25.  Nine laps later, the GMAC team elected to pit and Vickers brought the No. 25 Chevrolet to pit road, but as he did, he slid past his pit stall and was forced to back up for service.  The team changed four tires and added fuel, however, the miscue on pit road cost the team valuable track position.

By the time Vickers exited pit road, he no longer had any drafting help. 

“I messed up coming into the pits and that ended it right there,” Vickers said.  “It’s a shame because our car was handling good.  We’ll just try to get better for Sunday during our practices on Friday and Saturday.”

Based upon the results from Thursday’s “125s,” the GMAC Racing team will start 35th when the green flag drops on Sunday for the season-opening Daytona 500.

Live coverage of the event can be seen on NBC beginning at 12 p.m. ET.

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