NASCAR Sonoma Results 2012: Brian Vickers Shines In Spot Start

Just as he did at Bristol back in March, Brian Vickers returned Sunday after a lengthy absence and scored a top-five finish in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. This time, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver finished the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma in the fourth position and in doing so, overcame an earlier penalty for speeding on pit road.

"It was a great run for us; just really happy," Vickers said. "I haven't had many Cup races this year, but we've made the most of them."

Without a ride for the full season, Vickers has been running a limited schedule for MWR with Sunday's outing being just his third Cup race of the year. Remarkably, Vickers has now finished in the top five in two of the three races he's competed in – something which you would think would surely catch the eye of a prospective team owner.

"I hope so," Vickers said when asked if he was auditioning for a full-time ride. "If two top-fives doesn't do it, then I don't know what will."

Vickers' effort Sunday on the Sonoma road course was aided by the fact that he spent last weekend competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the most prestigious sports car race in the world.

"It was great to run Le Mans and then come here to road race," Vickers said. "I learned a lot about road racing. I kind of had to undo some of what I learned (at Le Mans) to get back in these cars. It took me a couple runs to get back to the heavy car with all the horsepower. Clearly, I was missing the pit limiter because I blew through pit road speeds."

RELATED:

-- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series results from Sonoma

-- Joey Logano apologizes for wrecking teammates

-- Kurt Busch emotional after gutsy performance

-- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 'We're better than this'

-- Disappointment for Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose

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