In preparation for his full-time gig as the driver of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014, Brian Vickers will drive the car in 12 of the remaining 13 races this year, according to an announcement from Michael Waltrip Racing on Monday.
Originally, Vickers was only scheduled to drive the car in three of the remaining races, with car owner Michael Waltrip slated to drive it at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 20 and Mark Martin racing it in the other nine races. Martin has moved over to Stewart-Haas Racing for the remainder of the season to drive the No. 14 for 12 of the 13 remaining races as a fill-in for the injured Tony Stewart. Austin Dillon will drive the No. 14 in the other race — Talladega. Waltrip will still drive the No. 55 at Talladega.
“(Sponsor) Aaron’s is supportive of the arrangement with Mark Martin agreeing to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing,” Aaron’s Chariman, President and CEO Ronald W. Allen said. “We’re engergized about Vickers’ availability to drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine for the remainder of the season. MWR talked about how this move would better position our team for 2014, while helping Stewart-Haas Racing, so we believe this is the best of all possible outcomes for everyone.”
Vickers has been a part-time driver of the No. 55, sharing driving duties with Martin and Waltrip, since the beginning of the 2012 season. Last week, MWR announced that Vickers would drive the car full-time next year.
“No one wants to see Tony out of the 14, but I am appreciative of the opportunity to get more seat time in the 55 as a result, Vickers said. “I didn’t think things could get any better than last week’s announcement with Aaron’s, but having a chance to run the rest of the 2013 season creates a tremendous opportunity for our team and we’re excited that all of this came together the way it did.”
Vickers will still finish out the year as the driver of the No. 20 car in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. All but one of the remaining Nationwide races this year are companion events to Sprint Cup races, with the only exception being the Sept. 21-22 race weekend when the Nationwide cars will be at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, while the Sprint Cup Series will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR