Michael Waltrip Racing cites "health issues" as cause for driver's absence.
After undergoing surgery to repair a patch inserted into his heart four years ago, Brian Vickers will miss the start of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Michael Waltrip Racing announced on Monday.
I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
“First, I want to thank everyone for their sincere support,” Vickers, 31, said in the statement released by the team. “I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again.
“My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body. Late last week I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to the hospital to be checked out. Following several tests, it was discovered that my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart.
“Saturday, I had to have corrective surgery to repair the hole and now I am beginning the recovery process. I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.”
In May of 2010, Vickers was sidelined for the balance of that season because of blood clots in his legs and lungs. He returned to action in the 2011 Daytona 500. The recurrence of a blood clot in his right calf forced Vickers to miss the final four races of the 2013 season.
In 58 races driving MWR’s No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota, Vickers scored eight top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. He won the July race at New Hampshire in 2013 and qualified on the pole at Talladega in October 2014.
The 2003 Nationwide champion has three victories and 12 poles in 316 career Sprint Cup starts.
“Brian has been a part of the MWR family since 2012 and our thoughts today are with Brian, his wife Sarah and the Vickers family,” MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman said in the release.
“As a race team, MWR has plenty to consider and we will confer with our partners, including Aaron’s and Toyota. As this is fresh news, we will adjust our future plans as more information becomes available.”
Accordingly, the organization is not ready to name a replacement driver for Vickers.