Allen Lessels' on Motorsports: Vickers earned his win
A similar scene plays out at racetracks around the country and at New Hampshire Motor Speedway late each Sunday afternoon that the Sprint Cup stops by.
The race ends and competitors bring their cars back to the garage and then the next race begins. Drivers climb out of their cars and peel off their firesuits and start hurrying toward the gates, the quicker to get to their rides and eventually their flights and home.
Johnson finished fifth in the race and was on his way to find Brian Vickers. In a hurry.
And off he ran.
Johnson’s was a sentiment shared by others.
Vickers, who drives only part time for Michael Waltrip and has made a big-time comeback just to get to this point, was a feel-good story on Sunday. He won his third career Cup race in 271 starts and first since Aug. 16, 2009 at Michigan.
Can he put in words what it feels like to battle through it all and come out and win again? “I don’t know that I can, to be honest with you,” Vickers said. “Everything that I’ve gone through over the last so many years from the blood clots; and you wake up one morning and you’re just not sure — you’re just hoping to be around the next. To, are you ever going to race again to, OK, I may race again, to, all right I’m racing but now I don’t have a job.”
Now he was sitting at the winner’s table at NHMS for a post-race press conference with Norris and crew chief Rodney Childers.
His team members weren’t the only ones excited about Vickers becoming the 11th different winner in the last 11 races at NHMS.
As he drove down the backstretch after taking the checkered flag, rival after rival came by to congratulate him.
“When Jimmie came by me on the racetrack, I think he was shaking his fist harder,” Vickers said. “He was like jumping out of the seat, I think, he was so excited for me.”
“He’s been through a long road of challenges and he’s fought through it all,” Johnson said.
Vickers and Co. enjoyed the win and seemed to enjoy the press conference.
Everyone laughed with him. Yeah, it was a feel-good story.