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One of NASCAR’s feel-good stories, this season will have to table his climb back to weekly contender until 2014. Brian Vickers, recently signed to the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota full-time in the Cup Series will take a leave of absence from Michael Waltrip Racing, effective the rest of the season due to a blood clot discovered in his right calf. Vickers, who has previously been sidelined with this issue has been prescribed blood thinners after the clot was discovered during a routine physical examination.
That type of medication, along with the potential risks of his condition will keep Vickers out of a car until the prescription – and the clot – run their course. While a difficult pill to swallow, the driver remains in good spirits as Dr. William Downey, the attending physician remains confident there will be no long-term effects to the driver’s career.
“If there’s anything to be positive about with today’s news, it’s that this is only a temporary setback,” said the 30-year-old driver in a statement. “The timing for this is never good, but I’m glad we’ll get it out of the way now and be ready to run for a championship with the Aaron’s Dream Machine in 2014.”
Co-owner Rob Kauffman was unwilling to commit to a substitute driver, claiming the team was just informed on Monday morning and “our concern is for Brian’s health.” The team’s other co-owner, Michael Waltrip, will jump behind the wheel for a previously scheduled start at Talladega and then they’ll reevaluate the future.
Vickers’ health news means he’ll also give up the No. 20 ride, at Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series the rest of the year. Eighth in the season standings, he earned 13 top-5 finishes along with 18 top 10s in 30 starts.
“We are praying Brian will have a quick and full recovery from this latest issue,” owner Joe Gibbs said in a statement. “Everyone at JGR appreciates all the hard work and effort he has given to our Nationwide Series program this year. [Brian] is a great competitor and we look forward to seeing him back on the track in 2014.”
At MWR, on the Cup side Vickers has a win and six top 10s during a limited schedule of 17 starts this season. He ran 25th at Charlotte, driving the No. 55 car on Saturday night.
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