Action Racing 1:24 Brian Vickers 2009 RedBull Toyota Camry
It just wasn't meant to be...
When RedBull announced in 2006 that they were coming to NASCAR it was a pretty big deal. The sport was shifting to their new Car of Tomorrow platform and there was decent interest/growth from teams hoping the design would "level the playing field". RedBull, already having some success in F1 and experience operating race teams seemed to be an absolute shoe-in to quickly become a powerhouse in the series.
Well, things did NOT work out as planned. RedBull fielded 2 full time cars in their first (full) season of racing in 2007. The campaign was riddled with DNQ's (did not qualify) for both cars. At the time, NASCAR operated by the "top 35" rule. There were no charters then. If your car was in the top 35 in owners points you were guarantee entry to the race even if your qualifying time was poor. RedBull, a totally new team with Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger at the wheels could not consistently bring fast cars to the track. As a result the early DNQ's for the season put both cars in a horrible hole with little hope of reaching the top 35 in points. It was a frustrating fight that made headlines each weekend after qualifying.
2008 afforded the team moderate success with Vickers qualifying for every race and the second car (mostly piloted by AJ) qualifying for most of the races for the year. Still, a frustrating fight for a team that had much higher expectations for success.
It wasn't until 2009 that the team started to get some real traction with Vickers scoring several top 10's and the teams first win at the Michigan race! Scott Speed piloted the teams 2nd car which still failed to qualify for several races.
2010 brought more adversity and struggles as Brian Vickers had to step away from racing due to health concerns and his car was piloted by a collection of available drivers that could fill in each weekend. Scott Speed qualified for every race but only finished in the top 10 a small handful of times. Another heartbreak year for RedBull.
in 2011 RedBull announced they were going to exit NASCAR at the end of the season. They released Scott Speed and fielded entries for a healthy Brian Vickers and offered a temporary home for Kasey Kahne before he transitioned to Hendrick Motorsports. Vickers was unable to recapture his 2009 magic and Kahne experienced terrific success while also scoring the teams 2nd victory at the next to last race of the season in Phoenix (nice way to exit the sport RedBull).
I always loved seeing the RedBull cars on the track. They did a really great job with the liveries and I will forever ADORE that they ran red rims on the back to correspond with the bull. A very clever and distinctive design choice <3 I don't think any other team in NASCAR has intentionally run mismatch color rims to work with their sponsor livery ever.
This car has been somewhat of a grail car for me. There's still a LOT of RedBull racing fans out there and these cars always seem to command good $$$ on eBay. The 1 year Kasey Kahne car is waaaay out of my price range always. I wanted to add at least one car to my collection and I choose the 2009 Vickers car because it represents their most successful year.
This Action Racing 1:24 has terrific details all around. The distinctive COT wing is intact and has the carbon fiber RedBull sails on the sides (these break off super easy). The engine bay shows off the official TRD engine along with tons of details that the current cars no longer bother with. Suspension/drivetrain etc etc are all nicely represented. The steerable wheels also are linked to the steering wheel inside the cockpit which is a nice touch.
I am super happy to have this in my collection finally. I look back on those racing days and remember how sad it was when RedBull struggled so much just to be in the race! Lots of dejected crew members and fans each weekend. But, they brought some of the most badass looking cars to the track and that counts for something!
Fun little easter egg... The 83 which was Vicker's ride had the first letter of his last name embedded in the car's number :)