Reoccurrence of blood clots forces Brian Vickers out of car

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Michael Waltrip Racing announced Friday that a reoccurrence of blood clots will force Brian Vickers out of the team’s No. 55 Toyota.

Vickers must resume taking blood-thinning medication, and he is unable to race while on the medicine. Vickers missed the first two races of this season after recovering from heart surgery in December. He finished 15th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his return and 41st last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

His season ended after 11 races in 2010 when he suffered blood clots. He returned to run the full season in 2011. Blood clots forced him out of the car again for the last five races in 2013.

“Thankfully, because I recognized the signs and symptoms, the doctors caught this early and I’m going to be OK,” Vickers said in a team release. “I had finished my treatment for the clot I had in my leg back in 2013, and I haven’t needed to be on a blood thinner for a clot in my leg or lung since. Now I won’t be able to race because I’ll need to be back on a blood thinner. I’m going to follow doctor’s orders and do everything I need to do to get well.”

Brett Moffitt will drive the No. 55 this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Moffitt finished eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway three weeks ago driving in place of Vickers.

Moffitt was scheduled to drive the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. The team has not announced what it will do.

“First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip in a statement. “He isn’t just our race car driver, he is our friend and we know the NASCAR community will continue to rally around Brian. We are fortunate to have Brett Moffitt in our system and marveled at his great drive in Atlanta three weeks ago, so we know he can get the job done in the No. 55 this weekend. As this news is very fresh and the situation is very fluid, we can only plan for this weekend at this point.”