Brian Vickers has been dealt another setback.
The NASCAR driver, who missed the first two races of this season while recovering from heart surgery, is once again headed to the sidelines after a recurrence of blood clots.
The 31-year-old Vickers will be forced to stay out while he takes blood-thinning medication to treat the clot, and in the meantime will be replaced by Brett Moffitt.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” said Michael Waltrip Racing 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.”
Brian Vickers said the situation could have been much worse.
“Thankfully, because I recognized the signs and symptoms, the doctors caught this early and I’m going to be OK,” Vickers said in a statement. “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.
“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.”
The medical setback had some ironic timing. As Brian Vickers noted, March is blood clot awareness month, and the sponsor on his car this week is Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
“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 raise awareness on this important health issue,” Vickers said.
Vickers has battled blood clots in the past. In the 2010 season he was kept out of the final 24 races after being diagnosed with blood clots in his legs and lugs. He also missed five weeks during the 2003 season after another blood clot was discovered in his leg.
Brian Vickers isn’t the only NASCAR driver out with an injury. Kyle Busch will be missing several weeks, possibly months, after breaking his leg when he crashed during practice at Daytona International Speedway.
[Image via Rainer Ehrhardt/Getty Images]