It’s a red-letter weekend so far for Red Bull Racing. It’s NASCAR driver, BRIAN VICKERS/No.83 Toyota starts on the pole Sunday at Infineon Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. RBR’s Formula One drivers finished first and second at the British Grand Prix earlier Sunday in their much-modified RB5’s. Pole sitter SEBASTIAN VETTEL won the race, and teammate MARK WEBER finished second after starting third.
RBR’s other NASCAR driver, SCOTT SPEED, failed to qualify but will drive the No.87 Nemco Motorsports Toyota owned and driven by JOE NEMECHEK- with Nemechek’s on the doors. Speed came from Formula One where he raced for a year and a half on the junior RBR Team, Toro Roso.
Vicker’s Over The Wall Gang Chief explained to me why the No.83 car was pitted where it was – first in line of the second half of the Pit Lane. Infineon Raceway is unique with its curved, segmented pit lane, which has a ramp dividing the two sections. RBR had first dibs on drawing for pit spaces. Their choice was predicated on two things – having the area in front of their pit free from incoming cars which could block an exiting Vickers, and a wide view of the entire Turn Eleven periphery. It’s all about strategy. The Crew Chief could watch and make a last-minute decision to call Vickers in for a pit stop. He said ordinarily the team would want the last pit stall before Pit Out – chosen this weekend by MARCOS AMBROSE/No.47 JTG Daughtery Toyota – for the same reason … no one could block his exit.
Ambrose was asked about double file restarts and comparing the Australian Bathurst road course to Infineon. With a wide grin, he said the restarts would be very interesting and entertaining for the fans. Ambrose said there’s no comparison between Infineon and Bathurst, which is a mountain top road course with definite elevations, twists and turns. Bathurst is quite challenging. It is the site of two annual traditional races, the 500 (12 hour race) and the 1000 – a 24-hour endurance race. Bathurst is, he said, a different genre.
It was sensory overload Sunday in the preceding hours before the Cup race. Colors, signs, sights and sounds everywhere. One blind man with a cane and a friend seemed to be taking it all in. It seemed as though there were pit tours everywhere. First I saw very small groups, and as time grew near for Driver Intros, the groups got larger and larger. Mobs and hordes.
TMI – At the 2007 NASCAR Cup race, there were 62,000 toilet flushes between noon and 6:30 PM on race day – not including Porta-Potties. Wonder who gathered that tidbit and why? This year the track has rented and will service more than 530 portable facilities for the weekend.