Ten years later, Vickers returns to defend his Nationwide Series Championship


Brian Vickers racing for his second NNS championship in 2013
Photo – NASCAR.com

2013 highlights Brian Vickers return to full-time Nationwide Series competition and marks the ten-year anniversary of Vicker’s first championship, in what was then known as the Busch Series. When Brian won his championship in 2003, he made history by becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR’s Nationwide series’ history.

Brian Vickers got his start in racing, driving go-karts on dirt and asphalt and won more than 80 races with three championships, while competing in the World Karting Association. Later, he moved up to driving an Alison Legacy series car owned by his family. As Vicker’s career continued, he made his debut in July 2001 in, what was then, the NASCAR Busch series, competing in a total of four races before the season was over. In the following year, his team was the only independent team to compete, with a rookie driver at the helm. Despite Brian’s fairly successful rookie year, at the end of the 2002 season, sponsorship disappeared and it looked as if he might not be able to continue.

Fortunately, Vickers managed to catch the eye a prominent team owner’s son. Ricky Hendrick, the late son of Rick Hendrick, struck up a conversation with Brian and was impressed. As a result, the younger Hendrick decided he wanted Vickers to be the driver for the car he owned at Hendrick Motorsports. But first he had to convince his father, Rick, that Vickers was the right choice. Apparently, Rick Hendrick agreed, and Brian Vickers was named driver of the no. 5 car in the Busch series for Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2003.

The move turned out to be a smart one, with Vickers winning three races on his way to earning the championship in his first year with Hendrick Motorsports. 2003 became the only year that Vickers ran full time in the Busch series for HMS.  As part of the Hendrick Motorsports team, Brian Vickers made the leap to the Sprint Cup series in 2004, while running a partial schedule with HMS in the Busch series from 2004 to 2006. He parted ways with Hendrick at the end of the 2006 season.

Continuing to run a partial schedule in the Busch/Nationwide series with Braun Racing and then with Turner Motorsports from 2007 to 2011, Vickers made only one start in the Nationwide series during the 2012 season for Joe Gibbs Racing.

2013 finds Vickers behind the wheel of the no. 20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and once again running a full-time schedule in the Nationwide series. Dollar General is a familiar sponsor for Brian, dating to when he drove for Braun and Turner Motorsports. Nationwide series championship contender, Elliott Sadler, behind the wheel of the no. 11 car, will be Vicker’s teammate at JGR.

Brian Vickers will be giving his best, week after week, while chasing checkered flags and the Nationwide series championship from Daytona to Homestead during the 2013 season. Many would be inspired to see Brian Vickers make history by winning another championship, ten years after his first, and proving anything is possible.

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