With Tony Stewart confirmed to be missing the start of the Sprint Cup due to an ATV accident that left him a back injury that will take some time to heal, Stewart-Haas Racing is left with no choice but to look for a replacement driver to occupy Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet. Recent reports indicate that the team has chosen Brian Vickers for the job.
According to a report from The Associated Press, a source familiar with the situation has said that Vickers will be the one to take Stewart’s place during the NASCAR season opening race at the Daytona International Speedway. The Stewart-Haas Racing team has scheduled a news conference on Friday to discuss plans regarding the No. 14 Chevrolet, and it is believed that the announcement regarding Vickers will be made there.
Vickers is only expected to drive at Daytona, which is set to open Friday. Meanwhile, the season-opening Daytona 500 will take place on February 21. Vickers himself is no stranger to missing races in the past. Back in 2010, he was said to have been sidelined four times due to health issues. During the same year, clots were discovered in Vicker’s legs and lungs, causing him to miss 25 races. He also underwent two procedures, one of which was in order to close a hole in heart.
Later in 2013, Vickers also missed the last five races of the season because he had to be placed on blood thinners in order to treat a blood clot in his right clot. And last season, a heart surgery back in December 2014 caused him to miss the first two races of the season.
Now, the Stewart-Haas team is reportedly waiting for word on whether NASCAR would medically clear Vickers to race. Regarding Stewart, the team said, “The outlook is definitely good! But, missing our leader for sure.”