Doctors have medically cleared Brian Vickers to return to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery. The team made the announcement Wednesday. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver underwent the heart surgery in December and the team said then that MWR co-founder and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 55 in the 57th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. MWR will name a substitute driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway later.
“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. Vickers missed much of the 2010 season when blood clots were discovered in his left leg and lungs. He returned to NASCAR the following year with Red Bull Racing. That team shut down at the end of the year and in the first part of 2012, Vickers was without a ride. In March, Michael Waltrip Racing announced they had signed Vickers in a part time role. It was announced in August that Vickers would be the full time driver of the No. 55 starting in 2014. Then in October of 2013 another blood clot was found in Vickers leg. Doctor’s placed Vickers on blood-thinning medication that prevented him from racing.
Vickers was healthy enough to race the entire 2014 season. He scored three top five and nine top-10 finishes. His best finish, a second, came at Daytona in July. 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 captured the pole at Talladega in October 2014. The 2003 Nationwide champion owns three victories and 12 poles in 316 career Sprint Cup starts. MORE>>>