Brian Vickers will not compete in the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing Sunday, after informing the team today that he has experienced a reoccurrence of blood clots that will require him to once again begin taking blood-thinning medication.
The 31-year old Vickers missed the first two races of the season while recovering from heart surgery in December, and has previously been sidelined twice by blood clots in his hands, leg and lungs.
“First and foremost, our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” said MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip today. “He isn’t just our race car driver, he is our friend and we know the NASCAR community will continue to rally around Brian.”
Waltrip tabbed youngster Brett Moffitt to replace Vickers this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, saying, “We are fortunate to have Brett Moffitt in our system. (We) marveled at his great drive in Atlanta three weeks ago, so we know he can get the job done in the No. 55 this weekend.
“This news is very fresh and the situation is very fluid, so we can only plan for this weekend at this point.”
Vickers also commented on his latest medical setback, saying, “Thankfully, because I recognized the signs and symptoms, the doctors caught this early and I’m going to be OK. I had finished treatment for the clot I had in my leg back in 2013 and I haven’t needed to be on a blood thinner for a clot in my leg or lung since.
“Now, I won’t be able to race because I’ll need to be back on a blood thinner. I’m going to follow doctor’s orders and do everything I need to do to get well.
“It’s Blood Clot Awareness Month,” said Vickers, “and I was supposed to be at the track this weekend doing work with my partners at Janssen, focused on getting the word out. I’m disappointed I can’t be there, but if there is a silver lining in all of this, hopefully what’s happened to me will help to raise awareness on this important health issue.”
Waltrip said there is presently no timeline for Vickers’ return, adding, “He is more susceptible to clots than you and I are, and we knew that could be an issue. Are we surprised? Yes.
“Did we think it would happen? No.”