Cup Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, stands in the garage area during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2013 in Dover, Delaware.

Published on January 22nd, 2015 | by Michael J Smith


Vickers To Return At Vegas

Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Brian Vickers has been medically cleared to return to racing in 2015.

Vickers will return to Sprint Cup Series competition at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.

Vickers underwent heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart in December.

He said, in a team release:

The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before. 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.

Team owner Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 55 Toyota in the season-opening Daytona 500, and a substitute driver will be named for the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Vickers will remain eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, so long as he meets other playoff requirements. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin received the same exemption when they were forced to miss races last season.

NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell, said:

NASCAR has reviewed the circumstances surrounding [Vickers’] 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.

This absence is Vickers’ third since he joined Cup competition in 2004.┬áIn 2010, he missed the final 25 races of the season due to blood clots and surgery to repair a hole in his heart. In 2013, he missed the final five races of the season due to blood clots once again. In December, he underwent surgery because his body was rejecting the artificial patch that was placed over his the hole in his heart in 2010.

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About the Author

Michael J. Smith is a NASCAR enthusiast and blogger. In addition to founding this website, Michael is a journalist with over a decade of experience writing for prestigious media organizations.

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