Brian Vickers will miss the start of the 2015 NASCAR season due to health problems.
The driver and his team, Michael Waltrip Racing, announced Monday (Dec. 15) that he would miss the beginning of the Sprint Cup Series season, the problem being a hole in his heart that will necessitate surgery.
“First, I want to thank everyone for their sincere support,” Vickers said in a press statement. “I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again.”
Vickers noted that he determined there was an issue after a hospital visit last week. Doctors found that a hole-covering patch in his heart that was inserted in 2010 was being rejected. His surgery took place last Saturday, Dec. 13.
“My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body,” Vickers explained. “Late last week I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to the hospital to be checked out. Following several tests, it was discovered that my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart. Saturday, I had to have corrective surgery to repair the hole and now I am beginning the recovery process. I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.”
Currently, there’s no word on when Vickers will return, nor who his replacement in the No. 55 for Michael Waltrip Racing will be.
“Brian has been a part of the MWR family since 2012 and our thoughts today are with Brian, his wife Sarah and the Vickers family,” MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman added. “As a race team, MWR has plenty to consider and we will confer with our partners, including Aaron’s and Toyota. As this is fresh news, we will adjust our future plans as more information becomes available.”
Similar health issues forced Vickers to the sideline in 2010 as well, causing the driver to miss all but 11 races.
Last season, he was ranked 22nd in points, scoring three top 5s and nine top 10s.
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