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LMS adds extra security for Vickers

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Posted: October 9, 2006 12:00 a.m.
Updated: October 16, 2006 3:20 p.m.
CONCORD, N.C. — Lowe’s Motor Speedway is beefing up security for driver Brian Vickers after angry race fans called the track to complain that Vickers wrecked Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson on the last lap at Talladega.
    The Nextel Cup Series is scheduled to race Saturday night at Lowe’s, and track owner Bruton Smith felt the need to offer Vickers assistance because of the flood of phone calls the track received Monday.
    ‘‘We want to make sure Brian has an uninterrupted weekend here and that he is able focus on his driving duties,’’ Smith said. ‘‘We will offer security escorts in and out of the speedway and anywhere he feels he needs our assistance.’’
    A spokesman for Vickers and Hendrick Motorsports was unaware of Smith’s gesture until reached by The Associated Press for comment.
    Vickers was running third on the last lap Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway when he followed teammate Jimmie Johnson in his attempt to pass Earnhardt, the leader. But Vickers ran into the back of Johnson, sending him into a spin that wrecked the two lead cars.
    Vickers scooted by for his first career victory, and was showered with boos in Victory Lane as fans also threw debris onto the track.
    He’s expected to be poorly received at Lowe’s, the track that shares a sponsor with Johnson and sits in the shadows of Earnhardt’s hometown of Kannapolis.
    Smith said this isn’t the first time he’s beefed up security for a driver.
    ‘‘I think the last time was for Rusty (Wallace) when he knocked Darrell (Waltrip) out of the way to win the All-Star race back in 1989,’’ Smith said. ‘‘We added security at his house and track the week of the Coca-Cola 600.’’
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