The season opening race of the Sprint Unlimited was a bit of a disappointment for Stewart-Haas Racing and especially for the 14 car as piloted by Brian Vickers during the race. Brian Vickers seemed to be doing well- hovering for most of the race around 10th, sometimes higher sometimes lower as happens during restrictor plate races. He may not have been driving last season, but he was doing just fine piloting the 14 car on Saturday night in Daytona. For awhile he was even up to 4th position and was always right in the thick of the battle. He even had one heck of a save after getting a little too loose and slightly touching another car something that would cause many drivers to go ping ponging off of other drivers. Unfortunately for several cars though, on Lap 22 of the 75 lap season opener, the 14 car cut a right rear tire sending Vickers into another car and then careering up into the wall and then back down into the infield. He ended up severely wounding team mate Kevin Harvick’s car and opening up the side of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car like a can of tuna. Despite the hard lick that had everyone holding their breath for a bit- Brian Vickers and all other drivers involved in the multi-car accident were alright after being evaluated at the infield care center. Brian has been having so much fun all weekend and seems to be really appreciating the opportunity just to be in Tony’s car. I actually am more impressed with him so far than I thought I would be. Come on Brian Vickers and Team 14 for the 500!
All four SHR teams were in the Sprint Unlimited Kevin Harvick finished 25th, Brian Vickers finished 24th, Danica Patrick finished 11th, and Kurt Busch was SHR’s best finisher in the Unlimited finishing 7th. This is a non-points exhibition race so no points were awarded.
Race winner was Denny Hamlin who won his third season exhibition opener.
Daytona 500 Qualifying/Pole Day
Unfortunately pole day for the Daytona 500 on Sunday didn’t go much better for Brian Vickers nor teammate Kevin Harvick. Both cars had their qualifying times disqualified for failing post race inspection with track bar issues. This means that they will start last in their respective qualifying Can Am Dual with Kevin Harvick lining up 22nd in Can Am Dual race number 1 and Brian Vickers lining up 22nd in Can Am Dual race number two. Neither Harvick’s 4 car nor Vickers 14 car will not make the Daytona 500- both are Chartered rides meaning they have a guaranteed berth in the Great American Race on Sunday the 21st.
Additionally Martin Truex Jr’s Furniture Row Toyota did not make it out to qualifying because he was pulled from qualifying with a roof flap issue. He will start 21st in Can Am Dual race number 2 because of it.
The front row for the Daytona 500 as set by Pole day is Chase Elliott (#24 Napa Chevy) on pole with Matt Kenseth (#20 Dollar Store General Toyota) starting beside him.
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Photo:
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