Vickers: Last 2 races will be “a battle” for drivers not locked in Chase

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Down 73 points in the Chase standings and without a win, Brian Vickers knows that the pressure is on for him and several other Chase hopefuls to get a victory in the final two races of the Sprint Cup regular season.

“It’s gonna be a battle,” Vickers acknowledged today at Atlanta Motor Speedway before qualifying for Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500.

“It’s gonna be intense these next two races knowing that it’s not just about the guys on the cusp for points, it’s about anyone that can win. The intensity’s gonna kick in.

“But to be honest, it’s been there all year. Every week you show up, you’re goal is to win and you’re gonna do everything you can to try and get that win.”

Vickers has been steady in recent years at Atlanta with six Top-10 finishes in his last eight starts there. But another result like that will be of little help to him as he looks for a last minute break-through.

Not helping Vickers is Toyota’s overall power deficit behind its rivals, particularly those with Hendrick motors such as Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Chip Ganassi Racing.

When asked where his Michael Waltrip Racing team stood on horsepower compared to the Hendrick camp, Vickers would only say that Hendrick had them beat in that regard “by a lot.”

“They’re strong right now, and it’s tough,” Vickers conceded. “But hopefully, one day, we’ll be on the other side of that cycle and they’ll be chasing us. But right now, for whatever reason, they’ve definitely got everyone beat in the engine department.”

Unfortunately for Vickers, time is running out on his post-season hopes, and he can’t wait for Toyota to come up with a performance boost.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.