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Sadler to sub for Vickers in final four Cup races

October 17, 2013, Staff report,

Drivers are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates in the NASCAR Nationwide Series

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Michael Waltrip Racing announced Thursday that Elliott Sadler will close out the final four races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in the No. 55 Toyota as a fill-in for Brian Vickers.

Sadler, Vickers’ teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will begin his stint for MWR at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27. Team owner Michael Waltrip, still a part-time competitor in NASCAR’s top division, will wheel the No. 55 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

The team announced Monday that Vickers will miss the remainder of the season because of health issues. Doctors discovered a small blood clot in his right calf, placing the driver on blood-thinning medication to combat the illness. Vickers said in a team release that the ailment was “a temporary setback,” and that he expected to resume his racing career in 2014.

"First, I am already a teammate of Brian's at Joe Gibbs Racing and it is really tough to see him going through this again," Sadler said. "Both of us have fought hard to get back in a position to win at NASCAR’s highest level. I am honored to have this opportunity to drive for MWR because I know their cars are competitive."

Vickers was announced Aug. 13 as the full-time driver for the No. 55 MWR Toyota in 2014. Vickers, who won in the car in July at New Hampshire, had previously shared the ride on a part-time basis with veteran Mark Martin, who is currently substituting for Tony Stewart as he recovers from a broken leg suffered in a sprint-car crash in early August.

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.

Sadler, a three-time winner in Sprint Cup competition, has competed full-time in the Nationwide Series the last three seasons, finishing second in the season-long championship race the last two years to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He drove a fourth Gibbs car in one Sprint Cup race earlier this year at Kansas Speedway.

Sadler currently ranks fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. Vickers ranked eighth in the Nationwide standings at the time of his season-ending ailment.

"Elliott has all the attributes we were looking for. He's experienced, familiar with Toyota, has a great attitude plus he’s a heck of a driver," Waltrip said. "We'll pair him with Scott Miller and the No. 55 guys and I know they'll have the Aaron's Dream Machine at the front of the field. I also want to thank everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota for letting us borrow Elliott for a few races."


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