CORNELIUS, N.C. – Brett Moffitt will drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The team’s regular driver Brian Vickers informed MWR he has experienced a reoccurrence of blood clots, which will require the 31-year-old driver to begin taking blood-thinning medication and he is not able to race while on the medicine.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. “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.”
Vickers missed the season’s first two races recovering from December heart surgery. He finished 15th at Las Vegas and 41stat Phoenix.
“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,” said Vickers. “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,” said Vickers.
In 60 races driving MWR’s No. 55 Toyota, Vickers scored eight top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. He won the July race at New Hampshire in 2013 and captured the pole at Talladega in October 2014. The 2003 Nationwide champion owns three victories and 12 poles in 318 career Sprint Cup starts.
Moffitt, 22, of Grimes, Iowa, finished eighth at Atlanta on March 1 driving the No. 55. He has also raced twice for Front Row Racing in 2015.