In a stunning development two weeks ago, Red Bull Racing announced driver Brian Vickers had been hospitalized in Washington, D.C. with an undisclosed illness. It was later announced the 26 year old had blood clots in his lungs and left leg, and would be out of his No. 83 Red Bull Toyota for an undetermined amount of time.
Today, it was announced just how much time he would be missing.
“The announcement that I have to make right now is that, Dr. Limentani and myself and the people that we work with through him, have decided that due to what's happened and the blood thinners that I'm on, that I will be out of the car for a minimum of six months, for the rest of the year.” Vickers said in a press conference held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday. “If something changes and I can get back in sooner then great. But right now, it's going to be the remainder of the season.”
Vickers made the announcement alongside team manager Jay Frye and aforementioned Dr. Steven Limentani, who he met through former team owner Rick Hendrick, and who is currently treating him. His doctor explained that Vickers has deep-vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism, which you can read more about here.
"This is what I love to do, this is my life," Vickers said. "This is what I love to do, and I fully intend on doing it again."
"As disappointing as this is, it's an opportunity I'm going to use to make the most of life and try to make it a positive and try to learn something from it,'' Vickers also said during his media availability. "I'll spend some time with the race team, learning some different roles, spending some time on the pit box trying to understand more of what they go through, what they do.”
He said he also planned to go to a Formula One race, among other things, but insisted his being away from time to time did not mean he was any less focused.
The North Carolina native was very optimistic and upbeat throughout the press conference, cracking several jokes with the media. He and his doctor also dismissed speculation that his sponsor, Red Bull, was a cause of his clots.
Vickers thanked good friend Casey Mears, who will be filling in for him the majority of the season, his teammate Scott Speed, and everyone who has sent him well wishes.
It was just a year ago that Vickers and Red Bull Racing had made their first Chase for the Sprint cup, narrowly beating out Kyle Busch for the last remaining Chase spot. Vickers would struggle in the final ten races, though, and finished 12th. And while he'll miss the rest of this season, Vickers was optimistic about his future.
"I do expect to be back in the car next season, and to win the Daytona 500.”