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Vickers drives smoothly to top 10 in first Gibbs start

Apr 15, 2013, 4:30 PM EST

NRA 500 Getty Images

Brian Vickers’ debut race with Joe Gibbs Racing ended in the top 10, an eighth place finish in the No. 11 FedEx/March of Dimes Toyota in Saturday’s NRA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.

The result was overlooked given his teammate Kyle Busch’s win and two other issues of controversy after the race (Brad Keselowski post-race outburst and a man who shot himself during the race).

In his first start substituting for the injured Denny Hamlin, Vickers started 15th and made it to seventh just 40 laps into the 334-lap race. A consistent run from there saw him briefly in the top five and sixth after the last round of pit stops before falling back to eighth.

Vickers, who along with Elliott Sadler races with JGR in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will both be in JGR Cup cars next weekend at Kansas. Sadler makes his first Cup start of the year in a fourth JGR Toyota, the No. 81 Alert Energy Camry.

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