NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler will fill-in for Brian Vickers behind the wheel of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with the exception of Sunday’s race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Car owner Michael Waltrip was already slated to drive the car at Talladega. Sadler’s first race in the car will be the Oct. 27 event at Martinsville Speedway in Sadler’s home state of Virginia.
As announced earlier this week, Vickers will be out of the car for the remainder of the season because of a blood clot in his right leg. Vickers also missed most of the 2013 race season because of blood clot issues.
After this weekend’s Talladega race, there will be four races remaining in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season.
“Elliott has all the attributes we were looking for,” Waltrip said. “He’s experienced, familiar with Toyota, has a great attitute, plus he’s a heck of a driver. We’ll pair him with (crew chief) Scott Miller and the No. 55 guys, and I know they’ll have the Aaron’s Dream Machine at the front of the field. I also want to thank everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota for letting us borrow Elliott for a few races.”
Sadler has been a teammate to Vickers in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as driver of the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing this season. While driving the No. 55 Sprint Cup entry for MWR, Vickers was also the full-time driver of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 car in the Nationwide Series. The Nationwide Series has the next two weekends off, and a substitute for Vickers in the No. 20 car has not yet been named.
“First, I am already a teammate of Brian’s at Joe Gibbs Racing, and it is really tough to see him going through this again,” Sadler said. “Both of us have fought hard to get back in a position to win at NASCAR’s highest level. I am honored to have this opportunity to drive for MWR, because I know their cars are competitive. I want to thank (car owners) Rob Kauffman, Michael and (sponsor) Aaron’s for giving me this chance. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers will be for Brian to have a quick recovery.”
Vickers is expected to be medically cleared for a return to racing prior to the start of the 2014 season.
Sadler has 431-career Sprint Cup Series starts to his credit, with three wins, the most recent coming in 2004. He raced full-time at the Cup level from 1999 until making a return to Nationwide Series competition in 2011.
Vickers drove the No. 55 to Sprint Cup victory lane earlier this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR