Brian Vickers is targeting a victory at Richmond this weekend, hoping it is enough for him to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The Red Bull driver currently ranks 13th, only 20 points behind Matt Kenseth in the drivers' standings heading into the final race before the Chase.
Vickers started from pole position earlier this year at Richmond and led the race but only finished 15th, a result that probably would not be enough to help him move up into the title battle, as the driver himself admits.
"I think it's very clear as to what we have to do, which is pretty much go there and win the race," says Vickers. "That's not necessarily the only way to get in the Chase, but that's really how we're going to gain the most amount of points. Even if we accomplish our goal, which is to go there, sit on pole, lead laps, win the race, there's still no guarantee we're going to make the Chase. If Matt finishes second, there's nothing we can do about it.
"The last thing that myself or anybody on the Red Bull team is wish ill upon anybody. We don't want anything bad to happen to our competitors. But we need them to at least not have a great night, no matter how our performance is."
Last month Vickers claimed Red Bull's first Sprint Cup series victory at Michigan while running a strong streak of results, which has seen him finish six times in the top 10 during the past 10 races. Last weekend he overtook Kyle Busch in the standings, and he believes his recent run is one that he can replicate in the Chase – although for him, just making the playoff would be a great accomplishment.
"I think we're going to be competitive," said Vickers when asked about his prospects for the last ten races of the season. "If you look at the record the past 10 weeks, we've earned – I read in one of the papers this past week that we've earned the most amount of points in the past 10 weeks than anybody. Maybe it was nine weeks or 11 weeks, but roughly about 10 weeks, we've earned the most amount of points on the track. That's what it takes to win a championship.
"Can we maintain that? I don't know. It won't be easy. It won't be easy to maintain that over a course of 20 weeks, but we've done it for 10. If we can make the Chase, do another 10, we win the championship.
"I know we're capable of it. I think at this point we need to set high goals and expectations, but we also have to remain realistic. We are a very young and new team. Just to be in the Chase is a huge accomplishment."