Veteran Brian Vickers couldn’t have been less of a Red Bull Racing team player during Saturday afternoon’s Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, while his teammate Scott Speed handled a dicey situation beautifully.
The two Sprint Cup Series teammates tangled while battling Mike Bliss for fourth on the last lap, sending Vickers into the wall. On the cool-down lap, Vickers bumped Speed numerous times in retaliation.
What Vickers said, though, likely will have some lasting repercussions on the team.
When asked what Speed told him after the two had exchanged words upon exiting their cars, Vickers said Speed explained that Vickers’ No. 32 and Bliss’ No. 1 machines slowed too quickly in the corner to avoid contact.
“That’s not much of an excuse,” Vickers said.
Television replays, however, seemed to tell a different story for the Sprint Cup teammates that drove for different teams on Saturday. Vickers piloted the No. 32 for Braun Racing while Speed drove the No. 99 for Michael Waltrip Racing.
As the three cars went to turn three on the one-mile flat oval during the final lap, Bliss was on the outside of Vickers with Speed trailing about two car lengths back. As Vickers tried to pass Bliss, he appeared to get loose and slide up the race track. His No. 32 lost momentum at just the moment that Speed appeared to be getting back in throttle.
Speed then nudged the rear of Vickers’ Toyota, spinning it into the outside wall. The wreck dropped Speed to an 8th-place finish and Vickers to 12th.
“We all went into the last corner and they just checked up and I couldn’t stop in time,” said Speed. “Brian’s a little bit heated for sure but luckily we’re teammates so we’ll get to talk it out — maybe in counseling or something.”