Brian Vickers will return at Las Vegas.
CORNELIUS, N.C. – Doctors have medically cleared Brian Vickers to return to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery.
Vickers will make his season debut in the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8.
Waltrip in the No. 55 at Daytona
MWR co-founder and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 55 in the 57th annual Daytona 500 onFeb. 22. MWR will name a substitute driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway later.
My body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in my heart a few years ago
“The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before,” said Vickers, the 31-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native whose health issues interrupted his racing seasons in 2010 and again in 2013.
“The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude.
What was the issue?
“I was not feeling well in December, so I went to see Dr. William Downey in Charlotte. He discovered my body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in my heart a few years ago. He and Dr. R. Mark Stiegel immediately went to work on correcting the problem. I also want to thank the great counsel along the way by Dr. Jerry Petty, Dr. Robert Heyer and my hematologist Dr. Stephan Moll from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the founder ofwww.clotconnect.org.
“Now all of my focus is getting ready so when I return we are prepared to win races and the championship in my Aaron’s Dream Machine.”
NASCAR Statement - Steve O’Donnell, Executive VP & Chief Racing Development Officer
"With the clearance from his physicians, Brian Vickers has satisfied all necessary NASCAR requirements to resume racing on March 5. Further, NASCAR has reviewed the circumstances surrounding his situation and has determined that he will maintain Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup eligibility despite neither entering nor attempting to qualify in the first two championship events, provided he meets all other necessary eligibility requirements.”
Michael Waltrip Racing