Brian Vickers was full of praise for his Red Bull team after securing a place in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time in the squad's short history.
The 25-year-old enjoyed some great pitstops during Saturday night's Richmond race and drove what was his best ever race at the venue, one he admitted he had failed to master in the past. His seventh-place finish is statistically his best result ever at the 0.75-mile oval and one that got him and his team in the title battle for the first time ever.
"It was team determination," said Vickers when asked what earned him a Chase spot. "This was just one race of many. The guys did a good job and the last stop wasn't our best. We had a couple of really good pitstops prior to that. Really proud of the effort by the guys.
"We really picked a good night to figure this place out. Ryan [Pemberton, crew chief] and the guys did a tremendous job and this was probably the best car I've ever had. I really wish that last caution hadn't have come out.
"We were starting to run down the #2 [Kurt Busch] and maybe had an opportunity at a top three. Real proud of everybody at Red Bull and Toyota."
Vickers also praised his main rival for the last Chase spot, Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch, who raced him fairly during the night at Richmond. The pair recently had a shoving incident at Michigan following a Nationwide race, but Vickers said their feud did not transfer to their battle for a place in the Sprint Cup play-off.
"Kyle and I have had our differences. I have to give him credit. Kyle raced me very hard and very clean tonight," said Vickers. "We had a great battle a couple times racing each other. He raced me with the utmost respect and I appreciate that.
"Ever since our little bought at Michigan, we've had some great races together. Haven't had any problems since then. I have to be honest with you, at this racetrack that is probably not the person I would have picked to have to battle to get into the Chase.
"They're really good here as a team, he's really good here as a driver, but we're happy that we got it done.
Vickers recently signed a new deal to stay with Red Bull for the coming years only a few days after he claimed the team's first Cup victory at Michigan.
His lone win of the year puts him in eighth place in the Chase standings only 30 points from leader Mark Martin, while the accumulative points system had him with a 603-point deficit to the leader in the championship prior to the Chase commencing.