By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Word is spreading like wildfire that Brian Vickers has been the man tabbed to replace the injured Tony Stewart at the season-opening Daytona 500. Several reports citing sources close to the situation from ESPN, AP and Motorsport.com are saying that Vickers indeed is the man who will jump into the driver seat of the No. 14 Chevrolet SS.
According to the reports, Vickers — who has suffered from blood clots for several years — will for now just be in the car for Daytona, but that his status can change going forward. An official announcement on the driver of the No. 14 car for Daytona will come from Stewart-Haas Racing on Friday.
Vickers is the 2003 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, and he is a three-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Vickers went full-time Sprint Cup Series racing for Hendrick Motorsports in 2004. In 2006 Vickers won his first Sprint Cup race at Talladega in dramatic fashion as he was involved in a crash with Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps. Vickers moved to the now-defunct Red Bull Racing team in 2007, where he blossomed into a Chase contender by 2009. In 2010 health issues began for Vickers.
In the past six years, Vickers season has been cut short by health issues four times. If Vickers is able to be healthy for an extended period of time this opportunity would help open the eyes to potential owners looking for a driver with superior skill.
Stewart and Vickers have had run-ins in the past, the most famous coming at Sonoma in 2011. That day Stewart spun Brian Vickers from contention, Vickers would later retaliate by sending Stewart’s car on top of a tire barrier.
The two drivers have seemingly mended broken fences.
Stay tuned for all of the latest on this developing story.
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