Race Weekend Central

Vickers gets six races; Hendrick, Knaus appeal Tuesday

Vickers to Run Six Races For MWR

Former Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers has been tabbed to pilot the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in six events this season. He’ll run both races at Bristol, Martinsville and New Hampshire.

“I am thrilled to get back behind the wheel of not just a race car, but a very fast race car,” Vickers said. “I’m lucky to find a ride of this quality so early in the season.”

The 28-year-old, who was forced to sit out at Daytona for the first time since 2007 after Red Bull Racing closed at the end of last season, posted a video to his Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BrianVickers) before the Bud Shootout promising fans he would return. Elliott Sadler was originally announced to drive the No. 55–shared by Mark Martin (24 races) and team owner Michael Waltrip (restrictor plate tracks)–but objections by his Nationwide Series owner Richard Childress forced him to back out.

Vickers has two victories and 57 top-10 finishes in 255 Sprint Cup Series starts.

Knaus, Hendrick to Face Appeals Board Tuesday

Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick and Crew Chief Chad Knaus will get a chance to make their case to the NASCAR Appeals board Tuesday. The three person panel will consider the sanctions against Knaus and the No. 48 team for C-posts NASCAR deemed illegal in pre-practice inspection at Daytona last month. Knaus, Crew Chief for Jimmie Johnson, along with Car Chief Ron Malic were each handed a six-race suspension. Knaus was also fined $100,000 and the team was penalized 25 driver and owner points.

According to SceneDaily.com’s Bob Pockrass (http://www.scenedaily.com/news/articles/sprintcupseries/Hendrick_appeal_set_for_Tuesday.html), NASCAR has said officials used gauges to find the part illegal despite insistence from Knaus that nothing was actually measured.

“It was just a visual inspection at that point–we never even got the opportunity to present that under templates,” Knaus said. “It’s unfortunate. There’s a bit of subjectiveness to it, and that’s why we’re going through an appeal.”

Though it’s rare for the appeals board to overturn a NASCAR penalty, Hendrick did win an appeal on behalf of Knaus back in 2005. Johnson currently sits 37th in points, 71 markers back from leader Denny Hamlin and 45 behind tenth place Carl Edwards.

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