Lowes Motor Speedway
ABF U-Pack / Braun Racing went into Charlotte this past weekend with guns loaded. Brian Vickers returned to the ABF U-Pack Moving #10 Camry, the super-fast Kyle Busch climbed behind the wheel of the #32 Toyota, and of course Nationwide star Jason Leffler was piloting the #38 Great Clips / ABF entry. Things looked good from the start, as all three cars were fast in both practices, with Leffler posting the fastest time in final practice, and looking to be a serious threat for the pole.
Due to the qualifying draw, Leffler had to go out very early during Saturday's qualifying session. Going out 9th in the order probably prevented him from making a run at the pole, but he was still able to light up the track for a 5th place starting position. Busch took the #32 Camry out about halfway through qualifying, and was able to put his Toyota right beside Leffler, qualifying 6th. Vickers had to wait until the very end of the session to take time in the #10 ABF U-Pack entry, but the wait was worth it. He flew around the track to take his second pole of the year in this car! This put all three of the ABF / Braun entries inside the top 10 for that night's race.
SATURDAY NIGHT, UNDER THE LIGHTS!!!
The race proved to be full of excitement, and all three cars were able to back up their strong qualifying runs with very strong cars during the race. Only 30 laps in though, trouble would strike, as Brian made contact with another car coming onto pit road during the race's second caution. U-Pack Pit Crew had to hold him on pit road for a lengthy stop as they worked to repair the damage, as well as change tires and add fuel. He restarted in the rear of the field.
The adversity would prove to be too little to prevent Brian from a fantastic finish, as he brought the ABF Camry home in 5th, with a strong showing all night. Jason looked to be en-route to another top 10 finish as well in the #38, but he was taken out with only 60 laps to go in the race, relegating him to 32nd. And that #32 car? Oh yeah, he won the race!!! That's right, Braun racing was able to finally put an end to the stranglehold that Joe Gibbs Racing has had on the Nationwide Series, with whom else but a driver on loan from Joe Gibbs Racing! Congratulations to Kyle, the #32 crew, and ABF / Braun Racing on a fantastic evening of racing.
Next up for the Nationwide series will be the Monster Mile at Dover International Speedway on May 31st. Brian Vickers will be in the ABF U-Pack car next on August 16 at Michigan International Speedway.
(Photos Courtesy of TheHotLap.com)