Brian Vickers has to sit out the first couple races of the NASCAR season to recover from heart surgery. How does he feel about this? "Quite frankly, it sucks," he explains to WDBJ 7. Vickers has been cleared to return to his NASCAR drive at Las Vegas in March—three races in to the season.
Unfortunately, Vickers is no stranger to being sidelined by health problems, as he missed part of the 2010 and 2013 seasons for heart and circulatory issues. In a video from yesterday's media tour, Vickers explained how uncomfortable it is to watch someone else pilot his own race car:
Quite frankly, I don't even like watching the race. I tried my best to go to as many races as I could stomach, you know, the few times I've been out of the car, but quite frankly, it sucks. It's one thing watching a great NASCAR Craftsman truck race or Xfinity race that you're not supposed to be a part of, but watching one you're supposed to be in...I can't see it any other way, it just sucks.
You can see the frustration in his body language as he says all of this. It's heartbreaking.
According to NBC Sports, team owner Michael Waltrip will take over Vickers' #55 Michael Waltrip Racing car for the Daytona 500 season opener, as Waltrip is a two-time Daytona 500 winner. Team test driver Brett Moffitt will drive the car at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Vickers will hopefully return to race his own car at the third race of the season in Las Vegas.
NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell explained the conditions of Vickers' return on Vickers' return to USA Today:
With the clearance from his physicians, Brian Vickers has satisfied all necessary NASCAR requirements to resume racing (at Las Vegas). NASCAR has reviewed the circumstances surrounding his situation and has determined that he will maintain Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup eligibility despite neither entering nor attempting to qualify in the first two championship events, provided he meets all other necessary eligibility requirements.
Vickers has been granted a medical exception for entry into the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the end of the season. He only needs to be inside the top 30 in points to make the 16-driver field for the Chase.
At least Vickers is positive about his chances after Las Vegas. "The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before," he explained in a team statement, as quoted by USA Today.
Here's hoping for a quick recovery. It's never fun to see anyone forced out of driving their own race car.
Photo credit: AP Images