Brian Vickers to miss the start of 2015 NASCAR season after heart surgery
Surgery to repair a hole in his heart will keep Brian Vickers out of the car for an undetermined amount of time.
NASCAR driver Brian Vickers will miss the “early part” of the 2015 season following heart surgery, Michael Waltrip Racing announced Monday.
Vickers, 31, was not feeling well and visited a doctored last week where it was discovered his body was rejecting the artificial patch he received in a 2010 procedure to fix the hole in his heart. Surgery was performed Saturday to close the hole.
In 2010 Vickers sat out 25 races when clots were discovered in his legs and lungs. He had heart surgery that July in hopes of keeping the blood clots from reforming and returned healthy in 2011. Vickers had no reoccurrences until October 2013, when a blood clot was found in his right calf forcing out of the car for the final five races of the season.
“My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body,” Vickers said in a statement. “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.”
Vickers will be sidelined an indefinite amount of time. Despite his absence, he could receive a waiver from NASCAR to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup provided he wins a regular season race.
MWR has not named a replacement driver for the No. 55 Toyota.
“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 said. “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.”
In 316 career Cup starts, Vickers owns three wins with his last coming July 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. That victory came in a part-time effort with MWR and earned him the permanent seat for the following season.
Vickers ranked 22nd in the standings in 2014 — his first full-time campaign since in three years — compiling nine top-10 finishes.