NASCAR driver makes political pit stop

A former Talladega winner made a stop at Chelsea’s Heartley’s restaurant to support an Alabama Senate candidate.

Brian Vickers, who currently races for Red Bull Racing and won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega in 2006, stopped at the Chelsea eatery on his way to the Talladega Superspeedway April 21.

During the visit, Vickers praised Slade Blackwell, a Republican candidate for the District 15 State Senate seat, which covers parts of Shelby and Jefferson counties.

“I have had a great opportunity to get to know Slade throughout the years, and we have spent a good amount of time together,” Vickers said. “Thank goodness he decided to run, because (the Alabama Legislature) is really a mess.

“There are so many in the legislature who don’t know how to run a business like Slade does,” Vickers added. “I am going to support him, because I want to see this country be the best it can be.”

Blackwell said the top issues facing District 15 are U.S. 280 traffic problems, the Jefferson County sewer crisis and the Jefferson County occupational tax.

“Brian doesn’t know how bad traffic is on 280, because he had a police escort,” Blackwell said, garnering laughs from the crowd gathered at the restaurant.

Vickers also praised the Talladega Superspeedway and provided a few predictions for this weekend’s upcoming race.

“Superspeedway racing is something every driver either loves or hates. I have always enjoyed superspeedway racing,” Vickers said. “Last time I was here, they were a little too restrictive. Bump drafting is the way we race and the way we pass.

“Alabama is an incredible place with incredible people,” Vickers added. “I think it’s going to be an incredible race.”