Brian Vickers is back on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit in 2011 after having to sit out nearly two-thirds of last season with a blood clot condition. Fully recovered, with a new outlook on his professional and personal life, Vickers competed Sunday at the Daytona 500 and plans to race a heavy schedule this season. I had a few intriguing questions for BV about life, racecars, food, uniforms and more:
TPG: How does your race car differ from an every-day car?
Vickers: There are many differences in a street car versus a race car. In NASCAR I drive a Toyota Camry, but it’s not like the street version. This race car has 850 horsepower, numerous safety features with roll bars and fire extinguishers, a spoiler on the back, no doors and no CD player. The tires are much bigger and have no tread. This allows more surface area to grip the race track. Our cars only have one seat, and it’s custom fitted. Finally, the gas we use too is a much higher octane. It produces much more power in the Toyota engine I race. It’s not something you can pick up at the gas pump at your local Sunoco.
TPG: How safe are you in your car?
Vickers: We are very protected overall, and I am strapped in with a five-point seat belt harness. We have no sunroof but what’s called “roof flaps” on top. We are going at high speeds and the car is spun around the roof flaps deploy and help to slow the car down and keep it on the ground.
TPG: What does it feel like in the driving uniform? Uncomfortable, fashionable, snug, loose?
Vickers: Each team designs their own “firesuits” with their logos and branding on it. In my case it's Red Bull. My firesuit is a one-piece suit that protects us in case of a fire. Red Bull does a great job of making the suit look good and stand out. They are all custom fitted for me, from inseams to waist, arms and chest --everything! If you’re going to sit in something for hours, it has to fit perfectly. The biggest issue with firesuits is that they are hot. When it’s 95 degrees out in Talladega, Alabama, I am roasting before I get in the
car. There are fans running and cooling equipment going at all times, but we can drop pounds of water weight quickly with each race.
TPG: What’s your favorite items in the closet?
Vickers: I have a bunch of “Astor and Black” suits that are very comfortable and stylish for events. I enjoy dressing up for a formal night out on the town. I also like John Varvaots and Hugo Boss casual clothing, both look and feel great. Big fan of a linen shirt while sitting around by the pool or at the beach.
TPG: Got a fashion tip to pass along?
Vickers: You also have to have a great pair of sunglasses. I really like the different lines that Oakley carries. If it’s for play or sport, they have something that will fit every need.
TPG: What’s your favorite restaurants for great food, friends and atmosphere?
Vickers: When I am living in New York, Italian is the way to go. I always try to go to Boom. The lasagna is fantastic. When I am living in Florida, I like Yolos in Fort Lauderdale. It has great indoor and outdoor dining. They have a fire pit out front with couches, great to gather around, even on a colder evening.
TPG: What are your favorite non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages?
Vickers: Ty Ku is the choice for 21+ drinks. Their soju and sake is awesome. I’m a big believer in keeping good company and always have it for my guests when entertaining. Water is what I drink most on race weekends. It can be very hot in the car and at some of the tracks that we go to on the NASCAR circuit, so I have to stay hydrated. How can I not mention Red Bull? I drink this over coffee and other caffeinated beverages, any day!
TPG: What do you find attractive (fashion wise) on the opposite sex?
Vickers: Whether it's business or casual, something that accentuates a woman’s assets. Oh, and a good pair of high heels doesn’t hurt.