MARTINSVILLE, Va.—As an experienced sky diver, Brian Vickers could only marvel at the recent 24-mile jump of Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner.
Vickers, who drove in the Sprint Cup Series for Red Bull Racing, has more than a casual connection with Baumgartner, whose Red Bull Stratos program benefited from a collaboration with NASA. Baumgartner, who jumped from a helium balloon, set records for a parachute jump from the highest altitude and the greatest free-fall velocity (834 mph).
“I was jealous, except for when he went into that flat spin,” Vickers said. “I’ve done some stuff with Felix. He’s a great guy.
“I did a few jumps for my birthday (Oct. 24), which was a lot of fun. It went really well. I was actually going up in the plane, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, this seems high.’ But then I think to myself, ‘I guess it’s not so high anymore, after he jumped from there.'”