After a couple of years of sharing driving duties behind the wheel of the No. 55 Toyota of Michael Waltrip Racing in the Sprint Cup Series and a return to full-time racing in the Nationwide Series in 2013, Brian Vickers will return to full-time competition at the Sprint Cup level in 2014. Next year, Vickers will be the sole driver of the No. 55 car. Aaron’s will remain as primary sponsor.
“I can’t put into words how this makes me feel,” Vickers said. “I’ve really found my home at MWR over the past few years, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the Aaron’s associates and customers. I am honored that Aaron’s is welcoming me into their family, full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship.”
Vickers recently drove the No. 55 to victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. It was the first win for the No. 55 team since three drivers — Vickers, Mark Martin and car owner Michael Waltrip — began splitting seat time in the car. After the win, speculation began to run rampant that Vickers would get the seat full-time in 2014.
Vickers joined Michael Waltrip Racing prior to the start of the 2012 race season to share driving duties of the No. 55 with Waltrip and Martin, a gig he still holds. For 2013, he added full-time Nationwide competition with Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 team to his racing docket. He is currently fifth in the Nationwide championship points standings, 18 points out of the lead.
Vickers still has three more races left to run in the No. 55 this year — Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway Aug. 24, a return to New Hampshire on Sept. 28 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 27.
Previously, Vickers has driven for teams including Hendrick Motorsports and Red Bull Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. While driving for red Bull in 2010, his career came to a screeching halt with a diagnosis of blood clots in his legs and longs. After a lengthy recovery period that included two surgeries, Vickers returned to competition with Red Bull Racing in 2011, but the team shut down its NASCAR operations at the end of that season.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR