Sources indicate to Frontstretch that Brian Vickers will meet with the media at Bristol Motor Speedway to discuss his progress and his intentions for the 2011 season. The meeting will take place following a three-month check-up examination by doctors monitoring the Red Bull Racing driver’s condition. Sources close to the situation say everything is progressing as planned, and Vickers is on track to be back in the car next season. With Kasey Kahne now joining the team for 2011, it appears next year’s RBR lineup will have Kahne and Vickers piloting their two cars.
Earlier this year, Vickers was hospitalized for multiple blood clots in the legs and lung, and was forced out of the car for the remainder of the year. The team has maintained that Vickers’s health was the most important thing, and they stood behind him as their driver. Vickers ran the first 11 races of the year before climbing out of the car for the Sprint Cup race at Dover on May 16.
Since then, a number of drivers have stepped in to drive the No. 83 Toyota – which still carries Vickers’s name above the door. However, unless there’s a surprise with the upcoming medical examination, Vickers is expected to announce he will be back behind the wheel of his car for next season.
In conversations with Frontstretch this May in Charlotte, team General Manager Jay Frye said the organization would not expand to three cars simply to expand. A lot has changed since that conversation, but while Frye left the door open for possible expansion next year during Tuesday’s announcement with Kahne, sources have explained that is unlikely at best.
That seems to leave Scott Speed’s role with the team in question. The July 31 edition of the Frontstretch Newsletter reported Frye saying the team was evaluating Speed’s progress in the car. He candidly explained he was disappointed with the lack of progress and explained the team needed everyone pointed in the right direction before moving forward.
The following day Speed wrecked the No. 82 in the closing laps of final practice while Reed Sorenson put the No. 83 fourth on the speed charts.
Following a 10th-place finish in Daytona in July, Speed has failed to finish any higher than 25th. With Frye disappointed in the second-year driver’s progress overall, plus the addition of Kahne, makes it questionable if Speed will return to the organization for next season.
Frye pointed out they would know more on Speed’s future with the team in the next month or two.
Team officials confirmed on Wednesday that Vickers would meet with the media in the next few weeks, but said a definitive answer on his return will not be announced until later in the season.