It’s another tough go-round for Brian Vickers. The 31-year-old driver for Michael Waltrip Racing has experienced a recurrence of blood clots, which will keep him out of NASCAR competition starting at Auto Club Speedway.
Vickers, who missed the first two races of the season following surgery to repair a tear in his atrium over the offseason, has been put on blood thinners. It is unknown how many events he will miss.
Brett Moffitt will drive the No. 55 car for the Auto Club 400 at Fontana after originally being slated to run the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. He ran for Michael Waltrip Racing at Atlanta, finishing eighth in his first start of the year, which generated enough attention to give him a ride on a temporary basis while David Ragan fills in for the injured Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Thankfully, because I recognized the signs and symptoms, the doctors caught this early and I’m going to be OK,” Vickers said in a press release on Friday morning. “I had finished my 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.”
NASCAR granted Vickers a waiver to be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup after missing the first two races of the year. However, he needs to be inside the top 30 in points, and must win a race to race for the title.
Vickers missed 25 races in 2010 with blood clots in his legs. Toward the end of the 2013 season, he had to sit out once again with a blood clot in his right calf, but was able to return for all of 2014.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” said MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip, who ran the No. 55 car at Daytona. “He isn’t just our racecar driver, he is our friend and we know the NASCAR community will continue to rally around Brian. We are fortunate to have Brett Moffitt in our system and 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. As this news is very fresh and the situation is very fluid, we can only plan for this weekend at this point.”
Moffitt will be making his 11th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend. It will be his third event with Waltrip’s team after running for Jay Robinson Racing in six events last year and twice for Front Row Motorsports this season.
There is no word yet on who will replace Moffitt in the No. 34 car this weekend. Moffitt had signed a three-race deal for the team starting at Las Vegas.