Brian Vickers is a veteran and knows too well what Denny Hamlin is going through right now. In 2010, he was sidelined with blood clots and is lucky to still be standing here today. Throughout that whole year he had to sit back and watch someone else pilot his #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry which must of tore him apart inside. Now, Denny Hamlin is going through the same thing except with a different injury. I give him a lot of credit for deciding to come to the track instead of just sitting home. Not only did he go to Martinsville, but he was on the box helping Mark Martin out during the race and at one point even went out to the edge of pit road to watch the car off the corner. Hamlin was a serious factor in why that car scored a top 10 after all the adversity they had to face during that race.
Brian will drive the #11 car in the next two to five races while Denny tries to recover from a compression fracture suffered in a last lap wreck during the Auto Club 400. Mark Martin somehow brought home a 10th place finish at Martinsville with a car that was really beaten up. Now, Vickers gets his shot to show what he can do in the coveted JGR ride. Since Brian joined MWR part-time in 2012, he has posted three top 5′s and six top 10′s leading 158 total laps.
I am very interested to see how he does when he gets behind the wheel of the #11. Mark Martin had major issues adjusting to Denny’s car due to his style of driving being very different than the much younger, Denny Hamlin. Vickers is close to the same age as Denny and already runs JGR equipment in the Nationwide series so I think the transition will be much easier for him. How well will Brian do is yet to be seen but I anticipate that we will see a lot of him up front and don’t be surprised if he wins a race. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past him to win multiple races. Vickers is driven, motivated, talented and hungry for a victory after everything he has had to endure the past few years. A victory would be a monumental moment for him and his career as he looks to fight his way back into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Motivation has an interesting way of giving a driver a little more speed when they are out on the track. There are some guys out there that desperately want to win again and one of them is Brian Vickers. He not only gets to run a few extra races this year but he is with one of the best teams in NASCAR. I will be very shocked and disappointed if we don’t see this very talented racer in a top tier ride running full-time in 2014. Hopefully, we will see him behind the wheel of the #55 or possibly a 4th Joe Gibbs Racing car. No matter what the future may hold for Brian, all I know for certain is that he will surely be a threat the next few races and his competitors should keep an eye out for him.