Stewart-Haas Racing has announced Brian Vickers will fill in for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet at next week’s Daytona 500. Stewart was rendered unable to compete in what would be his last-ever Daytona 500 after injuring his back driving an all-terrain vehicle while on vacation late last month.
Vickers was previously sidelined from racing due to recurring blood clots in his legs, however he has received medical clearance to fill in for Stewart at Daytona. The 32-year old North Carolina native last competed in NASCAR in March 2015 and is understandably excited about his return.
Stewart said Vickers is the right choice to drive the No. 14 at Daytona and also added that it’s nice to see him excited about his return to the sport.
“I’m real confident with Brian in it,” Stewart told NASCAR.com. “It’s pretty cool to see how excited he is about being in a car. He definitely deserves it. It’s nice to take something negative on my side and make something positive about it.”
Vickers said that he’s going to try and enjoy the moment as much as he can when driving the No. 14 next week and just try to have fun with it.
“I think a lot of guys get in these cars and they’re so caught up in the moment, the future and everything else, they don’t stop to think that it may be their last time, just to kind of really enjoy it,” he said.
“I can assure you when the green drops next Sunday, I’m going to enjoy it as much as anyone on that race track. If I’ve got another five or 10 Daytona 500s in me, then great, and if it’s the last one, that’s fine, too.”
The 2016 Daytona 500 will go green Sunday, February 21st at 1:00 p.m.
Photo via Facebook.com/BrianVickers