Red Bull's Brian Vickers will be out of racing for the rest of the season due to the treatment he is currently undergoing after blood clots were discovered last week.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner and former Nationwide Series champion was admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital last week due to persistent chest pains, and exams revealed clots on his veins to be the cause, forcing him to miss last Sunday's race at Dover.
The 26-year-old held a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, where he announced that he will be out of action for at least six months, which means he will not be racing at all for the remainder of the Sprint Cup series season.
Vickers was joined by his doctor, Steven A. Limentani, and Red Bull Racing's Jay Frye as he addressed the media, explaining that the blood-thinning medication he is taking to dissolve the clots on his lungs and his left leg would force him to bring his season to a halt.
"Dr. Limentani, myself and the people we work through to him, have decided that due to what's happened, and due to 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," said Vickers. "And if something changes and I can get back any sooner, then great. But right now it's going to be the remainder of the season.
"As you can imagine, that is killing me. I really miss being back in the car. It was really hard last Sunday to watch the race on TV and not be in the car. It was funny, I was lying in the hospital with all this things going on and instead of asking probably the right questions, all I kept asking was, 'Am I going to race this weekend?' They were trying to be nice, saying, 'We'll talk about it but probably not.' As reality set in, this is going to be a much longer process."
Vickers expects "to be back in the car next season and to win the Daytona 500," and fully supported the idea of Casey Mears – who replaced him last week at Dover – filling in for him for the rest of the season. Although Frye said that has still to be determined, Red Bull does not foresee any changes in the team's lineup for the time being.
Dr. Limentani said they still do not know exactly what caused Vickers' condition and it could be a matter of months before they have the answer. He added that the driver needs to remain physically active, although with limitations to what he can do. Given the medication Vickers is taking, any sort of accident could be very threatening for him.
Vickers, who is currently in his seventh full season in the Sprint Cup series and his fourth with Red Bull, said he was last in pain on Sunday but that since he left hospital for the second time on Monday, he has been feeling much better.
Although he expects to continue to attend race meetings, Vickers said he will not be going to all events although he plans to remain very actively involved with the team in several areas.
Last summer Red Bull Racing and Vickers signed a multi-year contract extension following their first win together at Michigan and they followed that up with a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which Vickers finished in 12th place, the team's best finish in the standings thus far.