By Ben White
When former team owner Dietrich Mateschitz began the Red Bull Racing team in late 2006, the Mooresvile, N.C.-based organization was considered a top flight winning addition to the sport from the very beginning.
Mateschitz’ No. 82, 83 and 84 Toyotas ran from 2007 to 2011, amassing 354 Cup starts with drivers A.J. Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Mike Skinner, Scott Speed, Mattis Ekstrom, Reed Sorenson, Kasey Kahne and Cle Whitt behind the wheel. Only Vickers and Kahne took his cars to victory lane in two events at Michigan – Aug. 16, 2009 and Nov. 13, 2011, respectively.
After completing one final Cup weekend at Miami-Homestead Speedway in 2011, the Austrian-born Mateschitz closed the doors for good with 20 top-fives, 56 top-10s and 10 pole positions.
Doug Richert, a team crew chief, remembered there was a very special reason why the flagship No. 83 was chosen.
“I know that when then Red Bull stuff came along, the No. 83 had a story a story behind it,” Richert said. “When we went to pick a number, it came from the fact that the size of the Red Bull can was 8.3 ounces. I think it was all promotion. It was the little can so that became available. We went to what we called ‘Red Bull School’ to learn about the product. I remember that’s what they told us about it.”