Vickers drives Toyota into top 10

first_imgVickers, didn’t even qualify at Daytona while the four Toyota’s that did that did finished 22nd, 30th, 34th and 40th. “I think this finish means a lot for Toyota,” he said. “To be a new team in such a competitive series and come in our first race and get a top 10, I’m so proud of everyone. I think everyone is stoked about the situation.” With the remaining three Toyotas in Sunday’s race placing 32nd, 33rd and 39th, Vickers’ validation seemed that much more important. But certainly not all important. “On the one hand, given the situation at Daytona and that this is a new team, new manufacturer, I know everybody wants to jump up and down,” Vickers said. “The fact is, we’re all racers and we finished nine spots worse than we wanted to. It’s a tough balance. But at the end of the day, everyone is going to be happy.” Vickers, however, was quick to point out his car’s limitations. To win Sunday’s race, he said the No. 83 Toyota Camry required a different setup, something he wasn’t sure could have been done on pit road. But a top-five would have been attainable with flawless adjustments. FONTANA – Brian Vickers finished nine places short of his goal in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. He admitted wanting to joyously jump up and down. NASCAR Photo Galleries: • Fans Auto Club 500: One | Two | Three Complete coverage: Motor Sports After a forgettable Daytona 500 last week in Toyota’s NASCAR debut, Vickers’ provided some much-needed credibility for the auto maker, driving his red Bull Toyota over the finish line in 10th place on Sunday. center_img Nevertheless, his team took a large step forward on Sunday. “We didn’t have any problems with the car,” he said. “We learned a lot about the set up and what we can do moving forward.” GILLILAND 25TH After an impressive Daytona 500 showing last week, former Chino Hills resident David Gilliland was a virtual non-factor Sunday, falling a lap behind the leaders early and never recovering on the way to 25th place. The driver of the M&Ms Ford ran in the middle of the pack virtually the entire race after starting 40th. “It’s not what we hoped for, but we came out of here with a 25th-place finish,” Gilliland said. “We weren’t good when we unloaded and we just never got where we needed to be.” As for the comparison between 25th place Sunday and an eighth-place finish at Daytona, Gilliland said nothing else compared either. “Just a different track, different tires,” he said. “Everything’s different.” PENALTIES There were 17 penalties handed out Sunday, including Tony Stewart’s for exceeded the 55 mph pit-road speed limit while leading the race on lap 158. Stewart dropped to 23rd, sacrificing a two-plus second lead while enduring the pass-through penalty. Dave Blaney was hit twice in a row on the 91st and 112th laps for pitting before pit road was open and speeding on pit road. Gilliland’s lone penalty was for exiting the pits too fast on lap 194. PARACHUTE OOPS During pre-race festivities, a skydiver unexpectedly veered his parachute into the narrow opening between the debris-catch fence bordering the track and the stands. The performer was uninjured, quickly springing to his feet and throwing his hands in the air, inciting a roar from the crowd. CELEBRITIES During the pre race drivers meeting, NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton named the celebrities and corporate CEOs on hand for the race. Singer Brian McKnight was the lone celebrity. “Short list,” he said about McKnight, who was there to sing the national anthem. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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