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Vickers Skipped Prom for First Bristol Dance

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 25, 2006) – You might almost feel sorry for Brian Vickers. You see, four years ago, the kid skipped his high school prom, one of the single most important rites-of-passage in anyone’s life. Yes, you might almost feel sorry for the guy—until you learn what he did that weekend instead.

He ran Bristol. And finished 14th.

Vickers is now the 22-year-old driver of the No. 25 GMAC Chevrolets and he makes his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series appearance at the infamous half-mile track this Sunday.

That 14th Vickers pulled down all the way back in 2002 came in the NASCAR Busch Series. And while the third-year driver has yet to enjoy the same success in a Cup series race at Thunder Valley, his initial introduction to the famed track gave him a sharp appreciation for just how rewarding the place can be—and how delicate it is.

“I love Bristol,” he said simply this week. “It’s a fun, fast race track, but it’s a beast for sure with 43 other cars out there. The racing can be rough and tough. You can make up a lot of ground in the standings because you’re guaranteed some guys will get into trouble. At the same time, you have to be careful because you can just as easily be that guy.”

As it happens, Vickers is that guy sitting 14th in the NEXTEL Cup championship standings after four races, just 15 points out of 10th. In other words, if he’s not that guy this weekend, he just might be that guy in the top-10 next week. But, that’s why they run the races and running well on a short track is a byproduct of a lot of things, not just 13-second pit stops.

“I think [short-track racing] can create problems when it comes to a driver’s temperament—not to mention all the potential work for the guys back in the shop,” says Vickers. “It’s not very often a car returns from a short track race without at least a dent or two on it.”

And that’s precisely what a whole lot of kids might say the morning after their high school prom. Vickers only hopes that on Monday, he can say he had as much fun.