Michael Waltrip Racing announced on Friday, March 20th that Brian Vickers will not be driving the No. 55 Toyota this weekend at Auto Club Speedway due to a reoccurrence of blood clots. As a result, the 31-year-old is taking blood-thinning medication, and cannot race while taking it.
“Thankfully, because I recognized the signs and symptoms, the doctors caught this early and I’m going to be ok. 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,” Vickers said. “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.
“Believe it or not, it’s Blood Clot Awareness Month and I was supposed to be at the track this weekend doing some 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.”
Vickers has had issues with blood clots in the past, forced to sit on the sidelines during both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He missed the first two events of this season as a result of heart surgery during the off-season. During his time off in 2012, an artificial patch was inserted to repair a hole in his heart. The patch was rejected by the heart, forcing Vickers to undergo heart surgery in early December to make repairs.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip said. “He isn’t just our race car 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.”
As a result, MWR will have Brett Moffitt behind the wheel this weekend. Moffitt drove the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine to an eighth place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season. Moffitt was scheduled to be behind the wheel of the No. 34 for Front Row Motorsports, replacing David Ragan, as Ragan filled in for the injured Kyle Busch in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota. However, with Moffitt now behind the the No. 55 Toyota, FRR has recruited Chris Buescher to drive the No. 34 for FRM.