By admin | June 27, 2012
By Richard Allen
Brian Vickers lost out last year when his Team Red Bull ride disappeared as a result of that organization deciding to end its Sprint Cup operations. And with limited seats available for 2012, the Thomasville, NC driver found himself with no place to sit when the music stopped playing in the NASCAR version of musical chairs.
With veteran Mark Martin only wishing to drive part-time for Michael Waltrip Racing this season, a limited number of races were left available in the #55 Toyota and Vickers was chosen as the man to fill the void in some of those events.
So far this season, Vickers has competed three times in Sprint Cup races for MWR and has scored two top-5 results with a 5th in Bristol and a 4th in Sonoma. His worst effort was an 18th place at Martinsville.
At on time, Vickers was thought of as a “can’t miss” prospect when he first appeared on the Sprint Cup scene as a 20 year old rookie in 2004 driving for powerful Hendrick Motorsports. He was coming off a season in which he had been crowned NASCAR’s Nationwide Series champion and he had a powerful ally at HMS in his good friend, Ricky Hendrick. It seemed as if nothing could stop this young driver’s meteoric rise.
However, the untimely death of Ricky Hendrick and less than expected results caused a split between Vickers and HMS in 2006. He eventually landed with the upstart Team Red Bull and managed to win a race for that organization in 2009. But health issues caused yet another career setback the next season.
Just as Vickers recovered his health and began to work toward rebuilding his racing career, the rug was pulled out from under him when Red Bull made their decision to leave. Now, he finds himself working as a part-time driver hoping to get back into the sport on a more regular basis.
Brian Vickers did not exactly leave NASCAR last year on the best of terms, at least with some of his competitors. Well publicized run-ins with Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart left some with hard feelings. And, a controversial report(refuted by Vickers) of the driver’s off track lifestyle has been the source of much debate as well. But in the few opportunities offered him this season, this once highly sought after commodity is making the most of his chances.
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