After driving for the team in a part-time capacity in 2012 and 2013, Brian Vickers will be the full-time driver for Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 55 in 2014.
The team announced Vickers' role on Tuesday, as well as the renewal of sponsor Aaron's, which will be the primary sponsor for all 36 races in 2014 and 2015. That full-time sponsorship agreement is a rarity in the era of split sponsorships. It also makes Michael Waltrip Racing the only team in the garage (with the exception of in-house sponsorships) that has two full-time primary sponsors.
“I can’t put into words how this makes me feel,” Vickers said in a team release. “I’ve really found my home at MWR over the past few years, and I've enjoyed getting to know the Aaron's associates and customers. I am honored that Aaron’s is welcoming me into their family full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship. Michael and co-owner Rob Kauffman are really building something special at MWR and are giving me the tools to accomplish those goals.”
Over the past two seasons, Vickers has shared driving duties of the No. 55 with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip. In July he won at New Hampshire, passing Tony Stewart late and driving away from him on green-white-checker restart. In 17 starts in those two seasons, Vickers has four top fives and eight top 10s.
Vickers made the Chase in 2009, but in 2010 was sidelined with blood clots. He struggled in 2011 with Red Bull in the team's final season, and was without a full-time ride in 2012. In addition to the part-time schedule for MWR this season, Vickers is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series.