Vickers out for at least three months

Fontana, CA ( – Brian Vickers said on Sunday that he will be
sidelined for at least three months while being on blood-thinning medication
for small blood clots that were found in both of his lungs this past week.

Vickers, the driver of the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in the
Sprint Cup Series, can not be medically cleared by NASCAR to race while taking
blood thinners. Brett Moffitt drove his No. 55 car in Sunday’s 400-mile race
at Auto Club Speedway.

During a press conference held shortly before the start of the race, Vickers
said that he started experiencing pain in his chest while he was en route to
Southern California.

“Thursday morning, we flew to (Los Angeles), and on the flight, I had a little
bit of pain in my chest when I was taking deep breaths, and I spent half the
flight trying to convince myself that I bumped into something along the way,”
Vickers recalled. “Unfortunately, I knew what that feeling was and that kind
of sharp pain on and off when you take deep breaths.”

Later on Thursday, Vickers went to the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica,
California to receive treatment.

“We got in the car and went to the hospital, and I walked in and told them
exactly what to look for and where to look and requested a CT scan and all the
things,” he said. “Unfortunately on the CT scan, I did have small clots. It
was still early stage. I did mostly listen to my own advice, which was to go
to the doctor as soon as you think something is wrong. I probably could have
gotten there a few hours sooner than I did, but I did get there pretty early
so we caught it. I had small blood clots in both lungs.”

This will be the fourth time that Vickers has been sidelined due to a medical
issue, including three for blood clots.

In 2010, Vickers was diagnosed and treated for blood clots in his left leg and
both lungs, which had put him out of competition for a majority of that
season. Then in 2013, Vickers missed part of the season after he was placed on
blood-thinning medication to treat a blood clot in his right calf.

Vickers underwent open heart surgery in December when doctors discovered that
his body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in his
heart in 2010. The 31-year-old driver was forced to miss the Feb. 22 season-
opening Daytona 500 and the March 1 race at Atlanta.

He returned to competition the second weekend in March at Las Vegas, where he
finished 15th. He placed 41st in last Sunday’s race at Phoenix after being
involved in a crash with Jimmie Johnson on the third lap.

When Vickers was asked during his press conference if his latest medical issue
could end his career as a race car driver, he responded, “That’s a fair
question. Am I worried? Of course. Have I given up hope? No. What I know right
now is that I unfortunately had to go back on blood thinners.

“To be clear – I have not been on blood thinners. If I were, I probably
wouldn’t have blood clots and wouldn’t be able to race. Being off of blood
thinners, working with my doctors closely to figure out how to solve the
problems of the past and get off blood thinners is what has allowed me to get
back in the race car.

“Unfortunately, now I am back on blood thinners for at least three months and
through those three months, I’ll try to figure out what makes sense with my
doctors if I can come back off of them to go racing. If there’s some kind of
plan that works and if not, then that’s that. We’re so far away from crossing
that bridge at this point.”