Stratospheric envy

Brian Vickers (L), driver of the #55 MyClassicGarage.com Toyota, talks with John Darby (R), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Competition Director, in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers (L), driver of the #55 MyClassicGarage.com Toyota, talks with John Darby (R), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Competition Director, in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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.'”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.