NASCAR AMERICA: The perseverance of Brian Vickers (VIDEO)


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.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images

Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.