Vickers suffers burns in Cup race

Associated Press • Mar 28, 2007 at 1:15 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Brian Vickers suffered second degree burns to his feet when an exhaust pipe broke midway through the 500-mile Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.

He was walking gingerly Tuesday during an appearance at Team Red Bull headquarters, but team officials said he would be prepared to race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

"We think that a piece of the tail pipe came off halfway through the race, so heat was blowing directly onto the floor board," Vickers said. "The guys tried to put some lining in the car to protect my feet, but it didn't really help that much. I basically had to run the whole race with my feet burning and that was just painful."

Vickers finished 15th in the Food City 500, despite the smoke and carbon monoxide fumes that filled his cockpit for the final 200 laps. He needed immediate medical attention and received oxygen while still in the car.

He went for a long bicycle ride on Monday to help his body rid the carbon monoxide, but had to do it standing up because his buttocks were slightly burned from the heat in the car. Red Bull officials were prepared to pull teammate A.J. Allmendinger from his car to replace Vickers on Sunday, but Vickers insisted on finishing the race. Despite missing three races, Vickers is 38th in the standings and 47 points out of 35th - the critical cutoff that guarantees a driver a spot in the field. Vickers is scheduled to test a car today at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.

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