DOB: October 24, 1983
Hometown: Thomasville, North Carolina
Vickers began racing go-karts when he was 10 years old. He was a quick study, winning eighty races and three World Karting Association championships over the next three years. In 1998, Vickers graduated to the Allison Legacy Series, where competitors race a 3/4 replica of a Sprint Cup series car. The transition was smooth and Vickers won five races. After competing in the Dodge Weekly Racing Series in 1999, he moved to the USAR ProCup, winning two races and being named Rookie of the Year in 2000. Vickers followed that up with five more wins and a second-place finish in points.
Vickers made his Nationwide Series debut in 2001 in a car owned by his father, Clyde. Over two years and 25 races, Vickers and his father managed nine DNFs and just one top-10 finish. Still, he must’ve demonstrated some ability, because in 2002, he was signed to run for Hendrick Motorsports.
The rest, as they say … in 2003, virtually his only full Nationwide season, Vickers won three races, finished in the top five 10 other times and won the series title. At the age of 20, he became the youngest driver to win the title. In the four years since (he skipped 2004 entirely), he has run just a total of 33 races, earning just three other top-five finishes.
Vickers’ Nationwide apprenticeship was a short one. He made his Cup debut for Hendrick Motorsports at Charlotte in the fall of 2003. In five races that fall and three other full seasons with one of the sport’s best teams, the promising young driver managed just one win. In fact, in the 108 races with Hendrick between 2004 and 2006, he managed just 10 top-five finishes and; his best points finish was 15th in 2006.
Both Hendrick and Vickers had expected far greater things, and, as a result, the organization decided to move in another direction. Let go by Hendrick, Vickers moved to Red Bull Racing, a new team, for 2007. In 23 races, Vickers managed five top-10 finishes and 38th-place in points. Though still winless since his only victory in 2006, Vickers and the young Red Bull team improved in 2008, with three top-five finishes and 19th in points, helping restore the faith in the ability Hendrick saw in Vickers in 2003.