With Brian Vickers sidelined for the rest of the 2013 Sprint Cup season, Elliott Sadler has been called upon to replace him in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota for the final four events at Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Sadler, who has earned three victories over 431 career Sprint Cup starts, currently runs for Joe Gibbs Racing full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He has run one Cup race this season at Kansas in April, and failed to qualify at Talladega back in May.
“Elliott has all the attributes we were looking for,” team co-owner Michael Waltrip said in a statement. “He’s experienced, familiar with Toyota, has a great attitude plus he’s a heck of a driver. We’ll pair him with [crew chief] Scott Miller and the No. 55 guys and I know they’ll have the Aaron’s Dream Machine at the front of the field. I also want to thank everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota for letting us borrow Elliott for a few races.”
Last week, Vickers announced that he would be unable to finish out the remainder of the year after doctors discovered a blood clot in his right leg. The Thomasville, North Carolina native has been put on anti-coagulation medication to treat the clot, but is expected to be able to resume driving before the start of the 2014 season.
In his own thoughts, Sadler made sure to give Vickers – his teammate at JGR in the Nationwide Series – his best wishes.
“First, I am already a teammate of Brian’s at Joe Gibbs Racing and it is really tough to see him going through this again,” said Sadler. “Both of us have fought hard to get back in a position to win at NASCAR’s highest level. I am honored to have this opportunity to drive for MWR because I know their cars are competitive.
“I want to thank Rob Kauffman, Michael and Aaron’s for giving me this chance. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers will be for Brian to have a quick recovery.”
As previously announced, Waltrip will step into the No. 55 Toyota for this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.