Brian Vickers: Don't Blame Me For All The Martinsville Cautions

There were a lot of wrecked race cars at the end of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, but perhaps none more than Brian Vickers' No. 83 Red Bull Toyota.

Involved in at least five of the 18 cautions, Vickers caught flak from a host of drivers, including Matt KensethJimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray.

The blame is something he feels is unwarranted, he told SB Nation in a phone interview on Monday.

While he took responsibility for "one or two" of the incidents, Vickers said it was "unfair" to blame one driver for 18 cautions. 

Among the first incidents Vickers was involved in collected Jamie McMurray, who in turn tried to retaliate with a wrecked race car. Vickers explained his intentions were not to wreck McMurray, but after being run down to the inside of the track lap after lap, it was simply a matter of time before his car got loose on the bottom. 

"He ran me all the way down to the curb, through the marbles and I got loose inside of him," he said. "Of course I was going to get loose inside of him. He ran me all the way down to the marbles. What would you expect?"

After the string of incidents early in the race, Vickers and the No. 83 team were able to rally from their issues and fight their way back into the top 10 with less than 50 laps to go. Racing with Kenseth for the eighth spot, Vickers said he "passed (Kenseth) clean" for position – and then found himself backed into the fence. 

"That's twice this year that's happened," Vickers said. "The first time at Phoenix, he door-slammed us and said it was an accident."

Vickers took responsibility for the final caution of the day – an attempt at retaliation on Kenseth – and said it was "probably not the best timing" and that he regretted the incident.

But not for the reasons you may think. 

"Mainly, because it didn't really harm him enough," Vickers said. "He had already taken himself out of the race. He pretty much took himself out of the championship by wrecking us."

"For someone in his position racing for a championship, I don't understand what there was to be gained by wrecking me," he added. "With three races to go in the championship, you're going to pick a fight with someone with nothing to lose? I could spend the next three races wrecking him. It's not going to affect me."

Vickers said he could have "gone down there and punched (Kenseth)" after the race, but did not see the point, adding there was nothing to say to him. 

As far as the critical comments from Gordon and Johnson, Vickers said it was "disappointing" his friends did not give him the benefit of the doubt.

Johnson expressed his frustrations Monday when the two spoke about the end of the race. Vickers explained he truly felt bad for the situation, had no intentions of ruining Johnson's opportunity to race for the championship, but not all of the wrecks were his fault.

Owning up for the last incident, Vickers added he should have "saved that up for another time," but added "it didn't cost him the win."

"He's in control of his own car and his own race," he said. "I can't run my race based on how it affects Jimmie or Jeff. I don't expect them to run their race based on how it affects me."

In a situation where next year's plans are still up in the air, Vickers said people can look at his day at Martinsville however they would like, but he should not shoulder the blame for all the wrecks.

"My job is to go to the race and try to win, drive my ass off," he said. "That's what I was doing yesterday. Unfortunately, there were 18 wrecks yesterday and we got caught in five of them. One or two of them I caused and the other three in no way were (my fault)."

Though he said the media "will blow this out of proportion," Vickers is confident his reputation and history on the track will "stand for itself" that he is "rarely one to cause incidents." 

"Every driver on the race track has had those days before, and yesterday was our day," he said. "Maybe the timing wasn't the best, but it is what it is. It was a high emotion day for myself and many, many other drivers on a short track at Martinsville, as usual."

Though he reiterated his regret over failing to take Kenseth out on the final caution, Vickers said, "I wouldn't change anything about the day." 

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