Up Close and Personal with Brian Vickers, Part I
- Jun 15, 2004
- Team Hendrick
GMAC Racing driver Brian Vickers sat down to give an exclusive two-part interview available only to Hendrick Champions Club members. This is the first installment of the feature where Brian talks about his rookie season, his career, and who he admires both on and off the track.
1. As a NEXTEL Cup rookie, what has been the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Patience—it’s key in this sport. The races are long and a lot can happen in 500 miles. You can be halfway through a race, two laps down and think it’s over for the day but if you keep on trying and never give up, you can end up back on the lead lap with a pretty decent finish.
2. NASCAR president Mike Helton has a tough job. If you were in his shoes for a day, what changes would you make?
I would tackle safety issues first, and make sure that every track has SAFER barriers. There would be no excuses for a track not having the walls up when we race there, like we’ve had to experience at a couple of places this season. NASCAR should take a firm stance with the tracks that don’t have them.
3. You have achieved a tremendous amount of success early in your career. Where would you like to see yourself professionally in 20 years?
Hopefully, as a well established driver in the Cup Series, with a championship. I would also like to experience new things such as running races in some other series.
4. Who are the people you most admire in life?
I’d have to say my family, especially my father.
5. If you weren’t a race car driver, what do you think you would be doing for a living?
I would like to be involved in the business field. It’s an area of interest for me.
6. Besides racing, what other sport do you excel at?
Nothing. Why do you think I race?
7. You’ve said before that Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte are two of your favorite drivers. Name some of your favorite athletes that are not involved in racing.
I’d have to say one of my all-time favorite athletes is, without a doubt, Michael Jordan. I also like LeBron James a lot, for the way he handles himself.
8. Do you have rituals or superstitions that help you prepare for a race or qualifying?
No, not really. I just try to stick to a similar schedule on race day, but I wouldn’t classify my routine as any type of ritual.
9. You have a habit of falling asleep in your car on the grid while waiting to qualify. How long have you been doing that?
As long as I can remember—probably as far back as when I was small and racing go-karts. I feel most comfortable when I’m inside a race car.
10. You designed a room for Ditech.com’s “Ultimate Racing Room” contest. In real life, what does your room at home look like? Is it a mess?
Because I am on the road traveling so much, I’m never really there, so things stay pretty clean.