O'Reilly 300 at Texas
Does anyone know a "Don't Rain" dance? For the fourth time in seven races, rain made an unwelcome appearance. As a result, qualifying was cancelled so teams had only one practice session before the race. The starting lineup was once again set by points, so even though Team ABF Racing was fast during practice, with Brian Vickers posting a top five time, he and the #32 Camry started 19th and Jason Leffler in the #8 car started 14th.
Thankfully, the weather on Saturday was good, and so was Team ABF Racing. Jason Leffler held the #38 in the top 20 throughout the race, and Brian Vickers moved the #32 Seymour / ABF U-Pack entry into the top 10 by lap 75. Things looked good for a solid finish for both teams.
On lap 91, the second caution of the race fell for debris on the track. While Vickers had a solid stop and re-started 9th, Leffler missed his pit! This caused him to have to restart as nearly the last car on the lead lap. He kept moving forward though, and never fell off of the lead lap.
With 83 laps to go, Vickers had the U-Pack machine in the 4th position, and was looking for more. He had to wait a bit though, as he was unable to move into the top three until a lap 161 restart. Leffler moved up to 7th.
When the final caution fell with 11 laps to go, the Crew Chiefs on pit road were left with a tough decision. The end of the race was near, but the cars had been on track under green for almost 30 laps. Should they come down for tires, or stay on the track and try to hold their position until the end? While some of the leaders stayed out, many others came in for either two or four new tires. Trent Owens called for four tires on the #32, as did Paul Wolfe, who replaced Stewart Cooper atop the #38 pit-box beginning this week. This shuffled the drivers back to 8th and 9th for the restart with only seven laps to go. When the checkers fell, Vickers had the Seymour / ABF car in 6th, and Leffler held onto 9th. All in all, a great run for both drivers and the Braun Racing team.
Next up for the Nationwide series will be a Friday Night Fight on the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. Brian Vickers will be in the ABF U-Pack car next on May 24, at Lowes Motor Speedway.