Vickers: Immobilizing boot led to blood clot
October 27, 2013, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- An upbeat Brian Vickers was back at the race track Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, wishing he was able to compete but carrying a thankful and positive outlook as he continues treatment for a season-ending blood clot ailment.
"I think I look at it more as, 'that's life.' That's just part of life," Vickers said. "Everyone in this room probably has had some sort of setback at some point in their life. I've had a lot of them, but I've also had a lot of good things happen, and I try to really focus on those."
Doctors discovered a small clot in Vickers' right calf on Oct. 14, ending his season as a part-time driver in Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 55 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Vickers said Sunday that doctors earlier had placed him in an immobilizing boot after his involvement in a crash last August at Bristol Motor Speedway, leaving him with a severe foot sprain. He said Sunday that the boot is what caused the clot.
Vickers was placed on blood thinners after the clot was discovered; he said competing either on or off the medication poses its own set of risks.
"It's not the clot and it's not that I can't race on blood thinners, it's that I can't crash," Vickers said. "As long as I can promise my doctors that I will not crash, then they're fine with me racing. Unfortunately, there's a lot of moving parts in the car that I can't control and there's 42 competitors that I can't control, so I can't firmly commit to that. So they'd rather me not race. The risk is not even so much external injury, like a cut or something, it's really more of an internal injury -- they wouldn't be able to stop the bleeding."
Vickers was announced Aug. 13 as the full-time driver for the No. 55 Camry in the 2014 Sprint Cup Series. Vickers, who had previously shared the MWR ride on a part-time basis with veteran Mark Martin, said he would take three months off from his driving career, but would be ready to compete for a championship next season, starting at Daytona International Speedway.
Elliott Sadler, Vickers' teammate this season at Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, will replace Vickers in Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Martinsville and in the remaining three races of the season. Team owner Michael Waltrip drove the No. 55 Toyota as previously scheduled last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Vickers missed most of the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season with blood clots in his leg and lungs. He had heart surgery that summer and returned to NASCAR competition the following year.