(Updated) Michael Waltrip on Brian Vickers setback: ‘Did we think it would happen? No’


Team owner Michael Waltrip said Friday morning that it’s too early to know how long Brian Vickers, who suffered a reoccurrence of blood clot issues Thursday night, will be out of the No. 55 Toyota Camry.

“He’s in the care of his doctors and expects to be able to operate normally today,” Waltrip said in a press conference at Auto Club Speedway. “That’s really all the information I have today on what his current state is, other than he feels really good, and he’s really sad.”

Waltrip and Ty Norris, executive vice president at MWR, did not reveal where or the number of blood clots Vickers had. They also did not have a timetable for when Vickers might return.

“He is more susceptible to clots evidently than you and I are. We knew that could be an issue,” Waltrip said. “Are we surprised? Yes. Did we think it would happen? No.

“We support Brian. We love his heart. We love who he is. We don’t know how long he’ll be sidelined. This is all very fluid. We’re learning as we go.”

Norris was the first official from Michael Waltrip Racing to learn about Vickers’ malady.

“I got a phone call at about 1 a.m.,” Norris said. “He’s disappointed in the result. But Brian has a lot of things in perspective. He was aware of the issue, thought he knew what it was, and it was confirmed. He’s getting the right treatment. As a human being, he’ll be fine. That’s the most important thing.”

Waltrip said Brian Moffitt will drive for Vickers in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Moffitt, who is under contract to MWR but was on loan to Front Row Motorsports, finished eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in place of Vickers three weeks ago.

“He fits in Brian’s seat, so there are no issues at all getting Brett into the car,” Waltrip said. “He’s never run a lap here. That’ll be fun to watch. He certainly overachieved for us at Atlanta. I was afraid that with youthful enthusiasm and exuberance that he would overdo it and mess up, and he was the opposite. He was just smart, methodically made his way through the race and produced a great result at the end, outrunning Brad Keselowski on the same tires.

“I love his heart and spirit and am glad he’ll be able to step in for Brian.”

Waltrip said any plans going forward will be predicated on what is learned further from Vickers, who is in Los Angeles with his doctors. The team likely will have a firm plan next week.

“For the foreseeable future, Brett is definitely our guy,” Waltrip said.

Could the fourth instance of being sidelined by blood clots mean the end of Vickers’ career?

“I just know his heart and passion, and he would not say that, so therefore, I will not say that,” Waltrip said. “I guarantee he would tell you he’ll be back in a couple weeks or months, or whatever the decision comes from his doctors that it will be.

“I expect him to overcome this. It’s obviously a setback for our team and Brian, but we’re just glad that Brian is OK..”

Vickers’ latest reoccurrence comes on the same weekend that Saturday’s Xfinity Series race will be sponsored by Drive4Clots.com. March is Blood Clot Awareness Month.

Kevin Harvick empathized with Vickers during his media availability Friday.

“It’s just a very, very tough situation,” Harvick said. “As you look at all the things that he’s gone through and really, especially the last one with the surgery (to replace a defective patch in his heart last December), and then thinking that everything was just fixed and going to be OK and then you come back and it’s kind of like the same old thing all over again.

“The first thing is I feel bad for Brian because he does have that drive and determination to be in the car. He’s been through a lot to try to get everything fixed, but it just seems like it just keeps creeping back up. It’s just a really unfortunate situation.”

Other drivers reacted on Twitter to Vickers’ news:

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Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Sunday Cup race at WWT Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather


Twelve races remain until the playoffs begin in early September. Ten drivers have won races. The pressure to secure a playoff spot builds as the Cup Series heads into the summer months.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Six-time Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee will give the command to start engines at 3:32 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:40 p.m. … Driver intros are at 2:55 p.m. … Tim Bounds, pastor at The Crossing Church St. Louis, will give the invocation at 3:24 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by Bebe Winans and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 3:25 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 240 laps (300 miles) on the 1.25-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 140.

STARTING LINEUP: Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 90 degrees and a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Joey Logano won the inaugural Cup race at this track. Kyle Busch was second. Kurt Busch placed third.


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Cup starting lineup at World Wide Technology Raceway


Kyle Busch will lead the Cup starting lineup to the green flag in Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.

Busch will be joined on the front row by Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney.

MORE: Cup starting lineup

The second row will have Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. The third row has Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.

Corey LaJoie, driving the No. 9 car in place of the suspended Chase Elliott, qualified 30th after hitting the wall on his lap.

The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1.

Kyle Busch wins Cup pole at WWT Raceway


Kyle Busch collected his first Cup pole of the season and will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Busch last won a Cup pole at Phoenix in November 2019. He earned his 33rd career Cup pole Saturday with a lap of 137.187 mph on the 1.25-mile speedway.

MORE: Cup starting lineup

“Being able to get a pole here with Richard Childress Racing, Team Chevy and everybody on this No. 8 team is good for us and just try to get some momentum rolling,” Busch said. “Our short track stuff hasn’t been the greatest this year so far, but this isn’t the short track aero package here this weekend, so that might pay dividends hopefully for us to just have a better day than what we anticipated. Just excited to have the guys pumped up and raring to go, and knowing that their hard work is paying off.”

Busch will be joined on the front row by Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney, who qualified at 137.153 mph. Blaney’s car failed inspection twice before qualifying. He will lose his pit selection for Sunday’s race. His car chief also was ejected. Brad Keselowski‘s car also failed inspection twice before qualifying. He loses pit selection and had the team’s car chief ejected. Keselowski qualified 19th with a lap of 135.743 mph.

Denny Hamlin (136.903 mph) starts third and is followed by Kevin Harvick (136.766) and Martin Truex Jr. (136.360). Harvick has two top-five starts this season and both have come in the last two events.

“I think we have a little bit of work to do on our car in race trim, but a lot of it is just getting into a rhythm I think – more than anything,” Harvick said. “Qualifying, we were just a little bit tight through Turns 1 and 2, and the car was good in 3 and 4. So, we have to have a better balance, and that’s what probably cost us a little bit of speed to get the pole. But, still a good day and a good starting spot.”

Corey LaJoie, subbing for the suspended Chase Elliott, will start 30th after hitting the wall on his qualifying lap. He qualified at 134.561 mph. Carson Hocevar, making in his Cup debut in LaJoie’s car, qualified 26th with a lap of 135.220 mph.

Green flag for Sunday’s race is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m. ET on FS1.