NASCAR Top-30 Preview:
No. 23 Brian Vickers
Image by PDA.PHOTO / Flickr.com
Brian Vickers turns laps at Martinsville Speedway. Vickers led 19 laps this season, including 16 en route to his win at New Hampshire.
By Dominic Aragón
January 26, 2014
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
Brian Vickers will be back in the saddle full-time this season for the first time since 2011.
While lingering health problems have had an effect on Vickers’ seat time, the difficulties he continues to overcome with his personal life do not affect his on track performance.
When Vickers takes the green flag at the Daytona 500 next month, it will be the driver’s first start in NASCAR’s flagship race since 2011. And, if Vickers can stay healthy, 2014 will mark his first full-time season since his tenure with Team Red Bull ended in 2011.
What is most impressive about Brian Vickers is the fact he ran in only 25 Cup races over the last two seasons, and has managed to run towards the front in his select races, most notably at short tacks.
Coming in to the 2013 season, it seemed as if Mark Martin days at Michael Waltrip Racing may have been numbered. With Vickers winning at New Hampshire in July, the victory solidified his chances at driving the car full-time in 2014.
In 2014, Vickers will continue to run well at short tracks, as he looks to adapt to the full racing schedule again. Because Vickers ran on a limited basis in 2012 and 2013, one could say he ran exceptionally since he had more time to focus and mentally prepare for the races, but Vickers has attempted the full schedule seven times, so he will prepare for the 2014 Cup events no different than his previous two years.
With MWR looking to put the 2013 campaign in the rear view mirror, a season with much success being overshadowed by the Richmond cheating scandal, having one driver in the No. 55 is what the team needed to move forward and have one driver represent the team.
If Vickers can knock off strong finishes in the first half of the season, and win a race, he will likely have an opportunity to qualify for the 2014 Chase, with the new rules on the points system set to be announced soon.
Stats provided by racing-reference.info