Harvick bumps Vickers on cool-down lap
Roaring past the checkered flag couldn’t save Thomasville native from suffering one more lump on Sunday.
Vickers took 11th place by edging Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick in a three-abreast finish. But, when they got to turn one on the cool-down lap, Harvick didn’t cool it and sent Vickers spinning.
“I’ll have to talk to Kevin about it,” Vickers said. “We hadn’t raced much all day and then he just wrecked us after the checkered flag. It was blatant, pretty blatant. He turned right into us.”
The spin finished an outing in which Vickers lost a fender during a multi-car fracas on lap 180, spun on lap 450 after a tire went flat and then gave Patrick a bump on lap 466 that sent Patrick into her former Nationwide Series car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., causing Earnhardt to spin in turn 3.
“Considering everything we went through, it was a decent day to come home 11th,” Vickers said. “I’m not sure what caused that wreck. I had a lot of damage, went a lap down and came back from that. Then we got back to the top five and blew a left-rear tire. I think we cut it. We had great tire wear and I can’t imagine we wore it out. We lost a lap there and we came back from that to finish 11th.”
On the final lap, he bumped Patrick coming through turns three and four.
“I had gotten to her several times and she ran me across the curb (on the inside edge of the track),” Vickers said. “She blocked me pretty bad so I put the bumper to her a little bit, If you are going to block, if you are going to run me across the curb then you are going to get the same in return.
“We raced hard all day and raced clean with a lot of people. I would say I did the same with Danica. I didn’t try to wreck here. If you are going to run me through the marbles then what do you think I’m going to do?”
Patrick finished 12th, her best outing since running with the leaders and finishing eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500. She had not finished better than 26th in the four races since.
“When you have a decent car, things are a lot easier,” Patrick said.
Patrick came from two laps down after spinning on lap 16 as a result of going into turn three too hard.
“I learned my lesson early that you don’t go in there too hard because (the other car) is not going to give you anywhere to go,” Patrick said.
“I’m most proud of getting the laps back and then running strong and finishing on the lead lap.
She explained later: “On the last lap, I guarded down into three and then (Vickers) hit me and got me loose.”
Patrick was also the best finisher among teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman in cars owned by Stewart. She passed Stewart for position with about 35 laps to go. Newman was taken out of contention by a three-lap penalty for intentionally stopping on the track to cause a caution period.
“I felt a little funny racing so hard with Tony for position at the end,” Patrick said. “To get in front of him, it was a little victory for me.”