NASCAR AMERICA: The perseverance of Brian Vickers (VIDEO)

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As we have focused lately on Brian Vickers’ health issues over the course of his Sprint Cup career, perhaps we have forgotten about his ability to overcome obstacles.

Vickers, who underwent heart surgery in December but will return to action at Las Vegas this March, may have shown as much perseverance as anyone in the Sprint Cup Series.

Despite his health problems, he remains a competitive driver in NASCAR’s top division. That’s a distinction only so many people have in this world. And clearly, Vickers has worked hard to keep that.

Still, there are questions about whether his most recent scare will be the last. What if his body fails to hold up again? His Michael Waltrip Racing team and his main sponsor, Aaron’s, have shown admirable patience and support of Vickers. But would another setback give them pause?

Vickers, for his part, isn’t worried about that scenario. In an 1-on-1 interview with NASCAR AMERICA’s Nate Ryan, he said that his partners have assured him that they’ll continue to be behind him.

“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it – ‘How many times can I go through this without scaring them?,'” Vickers told Ryan. “But [the team and Aaron’s] just keep reminding me that that’s not how they think.

“They have my back, they support me, they want me in that car, and they’ll do anything they can to have that happen as long as it’s safe and the right, healthy thing to do.”

For more of Vickers’ interview with Ryan, check out the clip above.

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.