Vickers Enjoying Return
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 18, 2016 | 3:45 P.M. EST
"I’m honored to race it as long as I need to and as long as I can, but I’m happy to turn the keys back over as soon as he’s ready." (Photo: Getty Images)
Vickers was sidelined last season during his tenure with Michael Waltrip Racing by a reoccurrence of blood clots, a condition that has plagued him for several years. He was forced to step aside from his ride at MWR in order to concentrate on alleviating the health challenge.
Vickers has been successful in getting his clotting issue under control but unfortunately when MWR closed its doors at season’s end, he was without a ride for the upcoming campaign.
But when Tony Stewart injured his back in an ATV accident back in January and so far has been unable to drive as he recovers, Vickers got a chance to pinch-hit along with Ty Dillon in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 ride.
He’s made two starts at Daytona and Las Vegas and will again pilot the ride this Sunday in the Auto Club 400.
“I knew through the help of a lot of great doctors I felt confident I was going to be able to find a solution, but then the next question was would I find a winning team willing to put me back in a car,” Vickers said Friday at Auto Club Speedway about the process to get back into NASCAR. “Unfortunately, I ended up back in a great car, not the circumstances I wanted to get here, but that opportunity did present itself and I was able to jump on it. For that I’m very thankful.
“It was an interesting feeling walking back into this media center. I think walking back into Daytona was an interesting feeling and it really hit me today walking in here. Because this desk and this room has a whole different meaning that even Daytona doesn’t for me.”
Vickers will again drive for the team next month at Martinsville Speedway but is remains focused on there here and now rather than down the road.
“Well I think practice is next and then qualifying,” he joked when asked what was next for him. “I’m really thinking long term. I just want to get through tomorrow.
“Nothing has really changed I think everyone is really just kind of waiting to see how Tony shakes out. As much as I and I can genuinely and honestly say this, as much as I want to race this car as long as I can, because it’s a great team and a great car and a great opportunity. I really want to see Tony back in it. I have been in his shoes. I know exactly what it’s like. It’s his last season; he deserves to be in this car as much as he can be. I’m honored to race it as long as I need to and as long as I can, but I’m happy to turn the keys back over as soon as he’s ready.”
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of Sunday's Auto Club Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.