Brian Vickers is out for Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway after experiencing a reoccurrence of blood clots.
The team said he'd be replaced by Brett Moffitt in the No. 55. Because of the clots, Vickers needs to be on blood-thinning medication. He can't drive while on blood-thinners.
“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 in a team statement. “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.”
Vickers missed the first two races of 2015 after heart surgery in December. The surgery was to replace a patch in his heart that was installed when Vickers first experienced an issue with blood clots. Clots sidelined him for much of the 2010 season. He was also forced to miss the end of the 2013 season because of the clot in his right leg.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Michael Waltrip said in a statement. “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.”
Moffitt finished eighth at Atlanta while subbing for Vickers. He's been in the No. 34 car for David Ragan since and no announcement has been made on his replacement for the No. 34, though Motorsport.com reports Chris Buescher will drive the car. Buescher drives for Roush Fenway Racing in the Xfinity Series.
According to Waltrip, Moffitt is the team's replacement driver "for the foreseeable future."
MWR didn't give a timeline for Vickers' return. He's already been given a waiver for the Chase after missing Daytona and Atlanta. The length of this absence will likely determine if NASCAR continues to grant him a waiver for the Chase and if it's realistically possible for him to be in the top 30 in points anyway.
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