JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Brian Vickers took the pole, he just couldn’t take the checkered flag.


Vickers finished seventh Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway, coming up empty again after sitting on the pole. The Red Bull Racing driver has won five poles this season, but hasn’t finished higher than fifth this season.

“I’m getting tired of near-misses,” Vickers said. “We had a really good car there at the end.”

Vickers led 10 laps and was in contention until the end. He just didn’t have enough to get past winner Mark Martin. Vickers, whose contract situation is in limbo, hasn’t won a Cup race since 2006.

“I feel like we had a top-three car, at minimum a top five,” Vickers said. “We finished seventh with at least a top-three car.”


Brad Keselowski’s racing team for 2010 is still undecided.

The 25-year-old Keselowski hoped a recent meeting with team owner Rick Hendrick would answer some questions about where he’d be racing next season. Keselowski wants a full-time ride next year, and he’s optimistic he can stay affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. He discussed several possibilities with Hendrick, though no final decision was reached.

“I have some preferences, but I haven’t gotten very far with them,” Keselowski said. “I’m not really close on anything.”

Keselowski, who finished 32nd, was making only his seventh Cup start of the season Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway. He qualified 29th in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 25 Chevrolet, and had Tony Eury Jr., as his crew chief. Eury was calling the shots for the first time since he was ousted as Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew chief in late May.

Eury’s father is Keselowski’s crew chief at JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. Keselowski drives the No. 88 in the second-tier series for Earnhardt, who could move the team up to NASCAR’s premier series and open up a spot for him.

Keselowski was introduced at Friday night’s Nationwide race as “Junior’s best buddy.”

Keselowski, who had a surprise Cup victory in April at Talladega, could also run next season as a third entry at the Hendrick-supported Stewart-Haas Racing.

NASCAR’s four-car limit means Hendrick doesn’t have an open seat for 2010.

No matter where he ends up, Keselowski felt he would have a full-time ride next season.

“I feel pretty confident that’s the way it’s heading,” he said. “It would have to be a big problem to come up for that not to happen.”

He recorded his lone Cup win for owner James Finch and runs a part-time schedule this season for Finch and Hendrick. Keselowski said he wasn’t feeling impatient and was just thrilled there was interest in him, especially in this economy. But he found enough common ground over future goals with Hendrick that Keselowski expected to remain in the fold.

“I think he appreciates the fact that I can be blunt sometimes,” Keselowski said. “We’ve made progress because of that. I don’t hide how I feel about things. I think there’s a home for me over here.”


Race director David Hoots issued a warning at the drivers meeting that rules’ flexibility with the double-file restarts is over.

“You’re the best in the world and you shouldn’t have any problems doing this,” Hoots said.

Hoots said NASCAR officials had been “lenient” as drivers became accustomed to the revamped restarts. But Saturday night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway marked the sixth one with the new format and it was time to get tough.

One example: Hoots said the lower-place driver should no longer expect to get away with beating the higher one to the line, then give the spot back.

“It’s not going to happen,” Hoots said.

Crew chief Chad Knaus, and drivers Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin were among the attendee’s who still had questions about the policy.


Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon’s 1-2 finish made one Colorado couple a $1 million richer.

It was part of a promotion run by LifeLock, the title sponsor for the June race in Michigan and Saturday night’s race at Chicagoland. Donna and Richard Musgrave correctly predicted Martin and Gordon, in any order, would finish 1-2 at Michigan, earning them the trip to Joliet, Ill. to see if they could repeat the feat.

If Martin and Gordon both finished in the top two again, the Musgraves would win the bonus.

Martin won, Gordon was second and the Musgraves went home to New Castle, Colo., with a bundle of cash.

“I’ve got so many butterflies in my stomach,” Donna Musgrave said. “I was having such a great time this weekend to get a chance to do things we don’t normally get to do when we come to the track. This is just a bonus.”

A $1 million one.

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