After Elliott Sadler backed out of a deal to drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55  Sprint Cup Toyota in five races due to a request made by his Nationwide Series team owner Richard Childress, MWR has announced the Brian Vickers will drive the No. 55 for six races, beginning with the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway later this month.
Vickers will also drive in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway in April, the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol in August, and the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville in October. Those were the races that Sadler was going to drive. Additionally, Vickers will drive the Sylvania 300 at Loudon.
I am thrilled to get back behind the wheel of not just a race car, but a very fast race car. I’m lucky to find a ride of this quality so early in the season. That Toyota won the pole last weekend in Phoenix [with Mark Martin behind the wheel] and you saw it up front throughout the race. I know how good [crew chief] Rodney Childers and team are. I’ve known Rodney since I was 8 years old. This car is tied for sixth in points right now. This is going to be fun. I appreciate the opportunity Michael and the entire MWR organization are giving me.
Martin drove the car to two top 10 finishes in the season-opening Daytona 500 and last weekend’s race at Phoenix.
Team owner Michael Waltrip said:
Brian Vickers is a veteran driver with almost 10 years experience, but he hasn’t even turned 30 yet. He’s shown he can win at this level and we have every confidence he’ll run well with us. I believe in second chances and this is great opportunity for us and Brian. He wants to show the world how good he really is and we believe in the equipment and people we’re putting him with in 2012.
Martin is slated to drive the No. 55 for 24 more races and the All Star event, and Michael Waltrip will drive the car in four more races this season. A driver for the two road course events will be named at a later date.