Brian Vickers will be sidelined for the remainder of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series seasons due to health complications.
Vickers, who was sidelined for the second half of 2010 due to a blood clot, has a similar issue this time around. Doctors discovered a small blood clot in his calf region during a Monday morning examination.
“We were just informed this morning and our concern is for Brian’s health,” MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman said in a team release. “Anything else will be worked out in due course.”
As previously announced, his Sprint Cup team principal Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota this weekend at Talladega, and a decision on a replacement for the remaining four Cup races will be made later.
A decision will have to be made on his Nationwide replacement, as well, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Vickers had been pulling double duty since Tony Stewart’s injuries meant MWR’s other driver, Mark Martin, went to the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to fill in there for the balance of the season. The one exception there is also this weekend at Talladega, where Austin Dillon is set to drive the No. 14.
Vickers’ 2013 had been a comeback season of sorts with a popular win at New Hampshire in July, and the announcement he’d be back in Sprint Cup full-time in 2014 with MWR. That was in happier days for the team before the controversy of Richmond happened in September.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.