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Brian Vickers happy for seat, even a temporary one

Brian Vickers has missed races in three of the past six seasons because of blood clots.

Brian Vickers has missed races in three of the past six seasons because of blood clots.

FONTANA, Calif. — One year ago this week, Brian Vickers paced around his Southern California hotel room until he accepted the realization that his racing career was about to be interrupted by another blood clot scare.

He returned to Fontana on Friday with a good seat in a fast car and plenty of optimism about his racing future.

"I've never been the kind of guy to give up, and by no means was I giving up then, but I certainly didn't think I'd be sitting here (now)," Vickers said. "I wasn't sure what the future held."

Vickers will start 24th in today's Auto Club 400 in his third race this season subbing for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Vickers and Ty Dillon share the seat as Stewart heals from an injured back sustained in an offseason dirt buggy crash.

But even a part-time job with Stewart-Haas Racing is a joy for a veteran driver who ran only two races last year before his third serious bout with blood clots sidelined him for the season.

"As much as I want to race this car as long as I can, because it's a great team and a great car and a great opportunity, I really want to see Tony back in it, because I've been in his shoes," Vickers said.

Vickers, 32, missed races in 2010, 2013 and 2015 because of blood clots; blood-thinning medication would make it difficult to stop his bleeding in a serious wreck. Vickers had surgery in 2010 to fix a hole in his heart and another procedure in 2014 after his body began to reject the patch.

"It's been a challenging five, six years for me," Vickers said. "But in a weird way, I'm very thankful for those experiences. I've grown a lot as a person, and a lot of good things have come from it."

Sprint Cup points

Through four of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kevin Harvick* 154—

Kyle Busch 154—

Jimmie Johnson* 140 14

Kurt Busch 137 17

Carl Edwards 136 18

Denny Hamlin* 131 23

Joey Logano 127 27

Austin Dillon 122 32

Martin Truex 117 37

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 115 39

* Has a win

Up next

Auto Club 400, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.

TV/radio: Ch. 13, 102.5-FM

Sprint Cup points

Through four of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kevin Harvick* 154—

Kyle Busch 154—

Jimmie Johnson* 140 14

Kurt Busch 137 17

Carl Edwards 136 18

Denny Hamlin* 131 23

Joey Logano 127 27

Austin Dillon 122 32

Martin Truex 117 37

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 115 39

Brad Keselowski* 110 44

Ryan Blaney 104 50

* Has a win

Today

Auto Club 400, 3:30 p.m. , Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.

TV/radio: Ch. 13, 102.5-FM

Up next

Auto Club 400, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.

TV/radio: Ch. 13, 102.5-FM

Brian Vickers happy for seat, even a temporary one 03/19/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 19, 2016 8:10pm]
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