|Brian Vickers goes road racing for MWR|
“Brian did such an amazing job at Bristol that we wanted to reward him with more races,” said co-owner Michael Waltrip, who will drive the No. 55 in four races this season. “It has as much to do with how he interacted with (crew chief) Rodney Childers and the crew as what he did on the race track. They really enjoyed his input and his professional approach, and he was a great teammate to Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Those guys were really impressed with how he engaged with them and managed his race car. Brian is a great young driver who is hungry to show what he can do. In my mind, he earned these extra races with his approach and attitude, and I’m so happy we were able to offer them. Brian’s contribution to the team has continued the momentum Rodney and Mark Martin created pushing the No. 55 up to eighth in owner points.”
“I purposely waited for an opportunity that would allow me to be competitive and this is what I have found with Michael Waltrip Racing,” said Vickers, who earned Toyota Racing Development its first Chase for the Sprint Cup berth in 2009.
“I could see all of the progress MWR has made from the outside, and when I was able to get to experience it first hand at Bristol, I was so impressed. It’s hard to explain, but each one of these team members and each one of the drivers truly cares about the other. There is a team atmosphere here and they welcomed me with open arms. That cooperation is how we were able to put three cars in the top five at Bristol. People don’t think of me as a road racer, but I love road racing and am so happy I will get a chance to compete at Infineon and Watkins Glen.”
Mark Martin will drive the No. 55 Toyota in 24 races, and the NASCAR Sprint All Star race.
Vickers, 28, owns two victories and 11 poles. The Thomasville, N.C. native competed full time in the Sprint Cup Series for eight years, and in 2011, he scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He began his Sprint Cup career in 2003 driving for Hendrick Motorsports, before moving to Red Bull Racing in 2007. Vickers has raced only Toyotas since the manufacturer entered Sprint Cup competition in 2007.Photo Credit: Jared Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR