From damaged goods to the comeback trail

HANK KURZ Jr. AP Sports Writer Published:

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Brian Vickers' latest comeback got off to a roaring start last week with a fifth-place finish at Bristol for Michael Waltrip Racing.

The driver who says he has wondered more than once if he was viewed as "damaged goods" hopes to keep his comeback on track when he returns this week to the scene of one of his worst days in racing: Martinsville Speedway.

Last fall, Vickers was involved in five cautions on the small, paperclip-shaped oval, three in the first 100 laps.

He tangled with Matt Kenseth, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, and was criticized by Jimmie Johnson afterward.

But Vickers and Kenseth say what's in the past will stay there, and Johnson says he's happy Vickers has landed on his feet with a partial ride with MWR.