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What if - Red Bull Racing stayed in NASCAR?
#1
This time in the world of alternate history NASCAR, we'll talk about Red Bull Racing.
But oh no, not the RBR that you might know from Formula 1.
The RBR (sometimes shown as Red Bull Racing Team) that competed in NASCAR from 2006 through 2011.

I don't know the entirety of their history well, as I wasn't really a NASCAR fan during their run and some things are me making speculations as a fan.
But here's a run-down of their NASCAR journey.

RBR had decided to venture into NASCAR and wanted to rock Toyotas in the Cup Series.
Problem, like the other two original Toyota teams (Michael Waltrip Racing & Bill Davis Racing), Toyota couldn't run in 2006 so they all ran Dodge instead. (Whether that was coincidence or not, I don't know).

RBR ran #83 as its main car, with a second full time car that constantly changed numbers (#82, #84, #4) and a third part time car that only saw some love in the Cup Series, and they also had some involvement in the Xfinity Series but I don't know much about their involvement in that series other than Cole Whitt drove a RBR Xfinity car limited schedule in 2010.

They had picked Brian Vickers to drive the #83 car, but he was still with Hendrick Motorsports' #25 Chevy so he wouldn't be able to drive for them until 2007.
RBR wasn't bothered by this and decided to run a limited schedule in 2006 using Dodges they got from Bill Davis Racing.
So how'd it go?
First attempt, #83 Dodge with long-time NASCAR veteran Bill Elliott.
Swing and a miss, car DNQ'd.
Second attempt, #84 Dodge with Champ Car (CART) driver AJ Allmendinger.
Swing and a miss, car DNQ'd both attempts.
To be honest, with how the Owner's Points system worked back then on top of having a team just using some random car until they can run their Toyotas, it doesn't surprise me.

2007 rolls around and RBR now has its star driver and its desired manufacturer.
They retained Allmendinger in the teammate car as well leaving them at a two car lineup.
2007 was a bad year for the Toyota teams with all of them struggling to make races (not a single one of the six full-time cars made every single race, all suffered at least one DNQ, #22 Dave Blaney from Bill Davis Racing was the best of the bunch in terms of DNQs if I'm not mistaken, too lazy to check the 4 part time ones at the moment).
#83 with Vickers DNQ'd a total of 13 times with a best finish of 5th.
#84 with Allmendinger DNQ'd a total of 18 times with a best finish of 15th.
Could certainly be better but to be honest seeing the Toyota entries in general struggle and sticking in a driver who doesn't have a ton of stock car experience makes me think they did alright.

2008 rolls around and this season consisted of them swapping drivers on the teammate car and running a third part time car with the addition of the #82 Toyota.
The #83 car managed to make every single race with Brian Vickers in the car 35 races and RBR development driver Scott Speed (another open-wheel driver) taking the last race. Car's best finish was a second place finish with Vickers.
The #84 car wasn't as lucky. Allmendinger DNQ'd the first three races in a row and was replaced by veteran Mike Skinner and rookie Scott Speed for a total of eleven races, and Brian Vickers who took the #84 for the race that Scott Speed was in the #83.
Allmendinger would end up leaving the team for Richard Petty Motorsports after 2008.
The #84's best finish was a 9th place finish with Allmendinger in his last race with the #84.
The #82 car was used a single time by Scott Speed while Skinner & Vickers raced the team's normal #83 & #84 cars.
The #82 never took the green flag as Speed DNQ'd the car's only attempt.
While RBR had stabilized the #83, they still couldn't fully get the #84 solidly running well and the #82 didn't get enough of a chance to show its potential.
Overall, an improvement for the team however.

2009 time, and some regard this as the best season for the team.
RBR dropped the #82 car, and swapped the #84 car to be the #82 and Scott Speed was now the teammate car's driver full-time.
(Another way to look to it is the #84 car went away and the #82 went full-time.)
This season was a GREAT season for the #83 car and Vickers.
The #83 won several pole positions (6 in total) and managed to pull off a win!
The #82 car didn't have that level of success, but managed to only DNQ three races (two of which they rented out a spot from the #87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota of Joe Nemechek to use his spot in the race to run their car). The #82's best finish was a 5th place finish at Talladega.

2010 time and a rough time for RBR.
This season saw them lose their star driver to medical issues after eleven races and the team had to use relief drivers the rest of the year.
Fortunately, the teammate car had some stability as Scott Speed was able to run the whole year.
The #82 car improved, making every single race with a pair of 10th place finishes which is pretty incredible.
The #83 car had to rotate drivers and never saw victory lane.
The #83's relief drivers were Mattias Ekström (two races, Sonoma & Richmond2; best finish 21st), Casey Mears (four races, best finish 22nd @ Dover), Reed Sorenson (thirteen races, best finish 8th @ Daytona2), road course ringer Boris Said (1 race, Watkins Glen; best finish 38th with a DNF), and Kasey Kahne who did the final five races of the year (5 races; best finish 6th + pole position @ Homestead).
After this season the team booted Scott Speed (who would sue them according to Wikipedia) from the #82.

During this season, they also ran a part time Xfinity (Nationwide) Series car, #84, for Cole Whitt for two races late in the year but that's all I know of it.

2011, the last season for the team.
The #82 car was renumbered to #4 and Kasey Kahne was placed in it, and Vickers was able to return to the #83 full time and the team even pulled back out their part time car this time running #84.
They wouldn't be retaining Kahne for long, he was only placed there until 2012 when Mark Martin stepped out of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.
Not that would matter long, as we'll see.

Performance wise the RBR duo ran respectable, with Kahne pulling off two pole positions and even a win and both pulling off several top 10 and top 5 finishes.
The part time car was revived for the last two races with Cole Whitt with a 25th place finish and a 37th place DNF finish.

However, mid-season it was reported that RBR was leaving NASCAR due to their on-track struggles and if I'm not mistaken, struggling to reach out to the 18-34 demographic.
This I believe helped set the stage for some awkward moments with Vickers in the #83 car not making friends to put it nicely by trying to push it too hard to try to impress car owners to give him a car in 2012.
Here's Vickers not playing well with others @ Martinsville2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy3XfOsEbLQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsoFArKUnW0 (Radio chatter highlights of the entire race, warning profanity present)
(Fun stuff, the 2011 RBR teammates would get in a skirmish a few years later at the same track and also again in the fall race.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCb3M-bLRS0)

After the season, Kahne moved to the Hendrick #5, while Brian Vickers was given a limited schedule run in the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in 2012 sharing the #55 with veterans Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip.

The team left the series after 2011, what was left of RBR's NASCAR team was then bought and turned into BK Racing, who to this day still runs a #83 Toyota. The reason why they love the #83 I'm not sure, I guess they want to pay homage to the RBR history.
(As a quick number recap NASFACT - BK's numbers they've run are #23 (2014-2017), #26 (2014-2016; inherited this from Swan Racing), #49 (2016, part of sponsor promotion), #73 (2012), #83 (2012-2017), #93 (2012-2014; 2016))


I think RBR was impatient and if they had bothered to tough it out that they could've done great and be a Top-25 team easily.
What also didn't help was sticking in drivers with little stock car experience (Speed, Allmendinger) and wonder why they're not doing stellar compared to other drivers who have more experience than them in stock cars.
One thing I think that also worked against them was the Top-35 rule for qualifying that locked in the top 35 cars in owner's points into each race to reward teams that attempted all the races as well as better performers.

BK Racing sure doesn't run great but I'll commend them for sticking around.



But as to the Alternate History portion of this, what would happen if RBR had indeed stuck around.
Would they continue to run two entries in 2012? Who would they pick to replace Kahne in the #4? (My bet is Cole Whitt would step into the car which would switch back to #84 but who knows.)

What would BK Racing do? Would they still decide to form a team, or did they only attempt a team since they were able to buy up the remnants of RBR? (My guess is they only took a stab at a team since they were able to pick up RBR who had decent cars.)

Would things have gone better for RBR if they didn't have to fight the Top 35 qualifying rule and if they had picked driver's with more experience in stock cars (or even been more patient with the two they had picked)?
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  • Lordhen
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#2
(06-24-2018, 07:01 AM)Gaomon274 Wrote: This time in the world of alternate history NASCAR, we'll talk about Red Bull Racing.
But oh no, not the RBR that you might know from Formula 1.
The RBR (sometimes shown as Red Bull Racing Team) that competed in NASCAR from 2006 through 2011.

This is interesting, never knew Red Bull was in NASCAR.
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#3
As a fun fact as well, they also sponsored entries in the NASCAR Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series, though as far as I know they didn't actually run the cars themselves.
And like their NASCAR team, the entries usually were Toyotas.

http://www.jayski.com/schemes/2007/truck...toyota.jpg
https://www.arcaracing.com/articles/1976138
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