CORNELIUS, N.C. — If you think there is no way to heighten the drama around a Talladega Superspeedway race then checkout the storylines around this weekend’s Aaron’s 499.

Saturday marks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ first knock-out qualifying session on a restrictor plate track. The entire field running in drafting packs to post quick lap times on the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway is sure to create a mix of apprehension and excitement for the fans, drivers and teams.

Fox will broadcast the inaugural session live at 1 p.m. ET.       

Sunday also brings extra drama and intensity this year. When the green flag drops many drivers feel a win could lead to a berth in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers has an extra incentive this weekend. Aaron’s sponsors the race and MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip returns to action driving the No. 66 BlueDEF Toyota. Vickers first career victory came at Talladega on Oct. 8, 2006.

 

BRIAN VICKERS ON TALLADEGA:  “Sure it’s a special place. I won my first Sprint Cup race there in 2006 and like everyone I love the show. It’s as mentally challenging of a race as we have. With the new qualifying and all that is at stake on Sunday I’m sure the Aaron’s 499 will be a weekend to remember.”

TALLADEGA QUALIFYING: “I have no idea what to expect. It’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s going to be way more entertaining. Nothing was more painful than the old way of qualifying at a superspeedway. I’m looking forward to Saturday and who knows how it is going to come out. I think the speed of the car and engine will matter less and chance will matter more. That’s fine. Restrictor plate racing to a certain extent is that way. I’m kind of good with it, because where you start isn’t critical to success in the race. Getting that timing, being in the right place at the right time and having the right car in front of you on the right lap is going to mean more than anything else. I think it is going to be a nail-bitter on who is going to win the pole until the very end.”

TAKING MORE CHANCES WITH “WIN AND YOU ARE IN” CHASE FORMAT: “I think people take a lot of undue risks at superspeedways already so I don’t know how much more that can increase. I think when the final laps start to click off it’s going to be same old Talladega but even bigger and better.”

WINNING THE AARON’S 499: “I don’t know who would be more excited in victory lane. Any victory is special in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series but to win a race sponsored by Aaron’s - a company that has been so good to me - would be a career highlight.”

ON MICHAEL WALTRIP DRIVING THE NO. 66 BLUEDEF TOYOTA: “That’s great for me and (MWR teammate) Clint (Bowyer). Michael has a ton of experience and is another set of eyes and ears that can help us dial our cars in. He’s a huge asset. There are few drivers as good as Michael on a superspeedway. He’s as much a threat to win this race as any of us.”

 

NOTES:

  • CHASSIS: Primary: 810 has not raced. Backup : 753  finished 30th in the 2014 Daytona 500
  • CREW CHIEF BILLY SCOTT: The 2014 Daytona 500 marked the first race for No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Crew Chief Billy Scott. The 36-year-old began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. He has served exclusively as the No. 55 team’s lead engineer the last two seasons.
  • AARON’S: Aaron’s joined MWR in 2000 serving as a primary sponsor in Sprint Cup and Nationwide races. The Atlanta-based company has grown from 500 to 2,100 stores in that time. Aaron's carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, appliances and computers and offers a variety of flexible payment options. It's really easy to get started owning at Aaron's - you are pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise without needing credit. Visit Aarons.com for more information.
  •  #ASKMWR: Throughout race weekends in 2014 MWR will collect questions hash-tagged #AskMWR on its @MWRteam Twitter handle. No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Jackman Wes Evans will host a 3-minute video each Wednesday on www.michaelwaltripracing.com featuring MWR experts answering the best fan questions from the weekend.
  • FANTERN: MWR is offering fans a chance to become an official MWR Fantern. This person will get the opportunity to be an “intern” on race day with MWR; duties including helping the pit crews with set-up activities, attending driver appearances and getting full access to the pit and garage areas. Fans can write in a submission to webmaster@michaelwaltrip.com or share a video on our social channels explaining why they should be the Fantern at the race of their choosing during the 2014 season.

·    MWR SPEED ROUND: Watch Brian Vickers and Crew Chief Billy Scott answer some off-beat questions during MWR’s Video Speed  Round at www.michaelwaltrip.com. Click here to watch.

  • AARON’S NEW COMMERCIAL: Watch Aaron’s new “Own It” commercial featuring Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip that began airing nationally in April: . Click here to watch.

 

·     No. 55 CREW:

Billy Scott                                 Crew Chief

Ryan Langley                            Front Tire Changer

Chris Hall                                  Front Tire Carrier

Shannon Myers                         Rear Tire Changer

Blake Haugland                         Rear Tire Carrier

Wes Evans                               Jack Man

Jeff Kerr                                   Gas Man

Steve Channing                         Car Chief

David Cropps                           Interior Mechanic

Roman Pemberton                    Spotter

Brandon Pope                           Race Engineer

Joe Bisson                               2nd Engineer

Jeremy Sharpley                       Shock Specialist

Jacen Johns                             Front Mechanic

Joe Zanolini                              Rear Mechanic

Kevin White                               Tire Specialist

Denny Chandler                         Engine Tuner

Tim Bruce                                 Engine Engineer

Glenn Shano                             Truck Driver

            Al Nelson                                  2nd Truck Driver

 

·     FOLLOW US ON TWITTER:

            @brianlvickers

            @mw55

            @mwrteam

            @aaronssports

            @aaronsinc

            @toyotaracing

 

·          VICKERS TALLADEGA STATS:

Race

St

Fin

Laps

Money

Status

Led

2004-09

39

27

188/188

75,620

running

2

2004-29

21

36

164/188

69,400

overheating

0

2005-09

37

37

139/194

82,625

crash

0

2005-29

27

6

190/190

109,875

running

6

2006-09

33

3

188/188

172,300

running

7

2006-30

9

1

188/188

228,850

running

17

2007-30

3

39

144/188

70,500

crash

8

2008-09

8

5

188/188

122,375

running

4

2008-30

9

35

134/190

79,650

running

10

2009-09

30

8

188/188

136,648

running

2

2009-33

12

13

191/191

112,648

running

0

2010-09

19

29

195/200

121,798

crash

13

2011-08

9

38

115/188

106,964

running

0

2011-32

30

5

188/188

135,964

running

3

 

  • VICKERS CAREER STATS

Year

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Led

2003

5 of 36

0

0

0

0

11

2004

36 of 36

0

0

4

2

87

2005

36 of 36

0

5

10

1

315

2006

36 of 36

1

5

9

1

126

2007

23 of 36

0

1

5

0

106

2008

36 of 36

0

3

6

1

232

2009

36 of 36

1

4

13

6

101

2010

11 of 36

0

0

3

0

27

2011

36 of 36

0

3

7

0

7

2012

8 of 36

0

3

5

0

158

2013

17 of 36

1

2

6

0

19

2014

9

0

1

3

0

31

11 years

289

3

27

71

11

1,220


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