Like most Nextel
Cup drivers, Brian Vickers likes the comforts of home on the road--which in his
case means accommodations for poker and barbecues. The 22-year-old Vickers, who
races the number 25 GMAC Chevy Monte Carlo, bought and customized a $700,000,
400-square-foot motor coach shortly before breaking into NASCAR's top circuit
in 2003. He stays in it three or four nights a week, while his driver,
51-year-old former trucker Cotton Crouse, logs about 50,000 miles a year
traveling among the circuit's 36 races and 22 racetracks. ( Vickers, who has won
more than $3 million this season, flies to races from his immobile home in
downtown Charlotte.) "I came up through the ranks and survived just fine
without [a motor coach]," Vickers says. "I used to stay in hotels. But
at this level, having [a coach] is a huge benefit. It helps you get more rest,
and [because it's right at the track] it gives you more time." A look
THE VIEW FROM
LIVING AND DINING
ROOM The red-and-black decor is pure bachelor chic and highlights the racer's
passion for card playing. Vickers keeps a framed 12-by-18-inch picture of a
three of diamonds and a three of clubs ("Just random cards," he says)
in the four-person booth that serves as the poker--and the dining--table.
"We play Texas hold 'em," Vickers says. " Jeff Gordon and I are the
best in our group."
black leather sofa lines the passenger side of the living room--it opens into a
queen-sized bed for guests--and is accented by red-and-gray suede pillows. A
19-foot mirror covers the length of the ceiling. The largest of the coach's
three plasma HDTVs, a 50-incher (below), hangs at the front of the living room
and folds up into the roof. Small speakers dot the area, providing surround
sound. When Vickers isn't watching FuelTV, he's often playing Tiger Woods PGA
Tour 2006 on his XBox 360 with visitors such as Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.
BED A king-sized
bed (below) fills up almost all of Vickers's sleeping nook near the rear of the
coach. Next to a 42-inch plasma at the foot of the bed is a six-foot-high,
five-foot-wide closet stocked with the jeans and polo shirts (covered in
sponsors' logos) that Vickers favors.
has been getting cooking lessons from Crouse, and he likes to prepare chicken
breasts in a pepper marinade. He's set up with a two-burner gas range and
convection microwave oven. His 14-cubic-foot fridge is flush with bottled
water, Gatorade and Mountain Dew. No booze. "Cristal and beer? That's at
home," says Vickers. He also keeps fruit (he likes watermelon and grapes),
vegetables and chocolate candies. When Vickers goes for a midnight snack (say,
the mint chocolate chip ice cream he always has in his freezer), he won't get
cold feet: The black-and-white checkered porcelain tile floor is heated.
BATHS The master
bath (above right), located off the bedroom, has a full-sized shower and a
cabinet-with-cat-door, which houses a litter box for Vickers's four-year-old
Siamese, Caesar. There's also a small powder room outside the bedroom. "If
you have guests over and it's early, they don't have to disturb you," says
Vickers, who sleeps as late as 11 a.m.
BEYOND The third
plasma TV is stashed in a cargo bay that opens to the outside of the coach.
Another bay holds an electric grill (right) and a cooler, which get heavy use
during the meals that Vickers--under the shade of two 18-foot awnings--hosts
for his 10 team members. All these custom touches add up to a 46,500-pound rig
that uses gas at a rate of less than seven miles per gallon and needs nearly 15
seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. But once it gets up to speed, says Crouse,
"it rides like a Cadillac."