Matthew O

NASCAR: Elliot Sadler to pinch-hit for ill Brian Vickers


Michael Waltrip Racing has picked Elliott Sadler to drive its No. 55 Toyota in four of the final five races of the Sprint Cup season.

MWR announced Monday that Brian Vickers will be out for the rest of the season after a blood clot was discovered on his right calf. Vickers suffered a similar illness in 2010 and nearly died. He missed 25 races that year, though he is expected to be cleared to race by the start of the 2014 season.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 55 car for this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway. Sadler will begin his role as Vickers’ fill-in Oct. 27 at Martinsville Speedway.

Vickers is one of the good guys in NASCAR. He came up through the ranks with Rick Hendrick Racing and drove for Ricky Hendrick as part of Hendrick’s Busch car team before his untimely death in 2004.

Sadler is currently a full-time driver in the Nationwide Series, where he is a teammate of Vickers at Joe Gibbs Racing, competed in NASCAR’s premiere series from 1999-2010. In 431 Cup starts, Sadler has three victories and qualified for the 2004 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Tags: Brian Vickers NASCAR