July 14, 2013

Sprint Cup: Good will, strong will drive Vickers

Once sidelined by a slew of obstacles, including precarious health, the nice guy proves to be the comeback kid.

By DAN GELSTON The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Brian Vickers has reason aplenty to smile after his surprise victory that even had his competitors happy for his success.

Photos by The Associated Press

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Brian Vickers (55) leads by a nose over Tony Stewart (14) with Kyle Busch (18) just behind at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Sunday afternoon.

AP

Additional Photos Below

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He was in a similar spot again down the stretch a race later. He had just enough to zip past Stewart with 13 laps left and then pull away in the green-white-checkered finish. He didn't run out until it was time for the celebratory burnout.

Stewart wasn't so lucky a week after he finished second at Daytona.

Johnson, who won at Daytona, was mired in last place for the first time in his career after his No. 48 Chevrolet flunked post-qualifying inspection. No big deal. The points leader worked his way up to the front for most of the race.

He easily breezed past 71-year-old Morgan Shepherd, the oldest driver to start a race in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series.

Kurt Busch led a race-high 102 laps before he connected with Ryan Newman to end his shot at his first victory of the season. Off the restart, Danica Patrick was involved in a three-car wreck that included boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"We're all bunched up on those restarts," Patrick said. "I'm not sure if I misjudged the breaking zone or they stopped really quick in front of me."

Vickers survived it all to win for the third time in 271 Sprint Cup races.

He thanked the MWR team for "believing in me and giving me a second chance."

But he wants more.

He received the clean bill of health, the ride and the victory.

With a full 36-race schedule, Vickers said there is one more check he needs to put in his box.

"I feel like I can win a championship with this team," he said. "That's our goal."

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Additional Photos

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Kurt Busch, 78, and Ryan Newman, behind him, get sideways in Turn 2 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., on Sunday.

The Associated Press

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Brian Vickers, right, is congratulated by Jimmie Johnson in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

The Associated Press

 


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