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Vickers to miss remainder of season

by Pete McCole
Friday, May 21, 2010

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Brian Vickers
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Brian Vickers will miss the rest of the 2010 season as he continues treatments for blood clots that required him to be hospitalized last week.

At a press conference on Friday, Vickers, accompanied by his physician Dr. Steven Limentani and Team Red Bull general manager Jay Frye, announced he will sit out the remaining races this season at the advice of his doctors, who are treating him with blood thinning medication that make it dangerous for him to be behind the wheel of a stock car.

“Dr. Limentani and I have decided that due to what 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,” said Vickers. “If something changes, and I can get back in the car sooner, then great. Right now, it’s going to be the remainder of the season.

“As you can imagine, that is killing me, no pun intended.”

Vickers has been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, a medical condition where a blood clot forms in a vein in the legs which can then break off and travel to the lungs, which causes severe pain and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

“It’s a pulmonary embolus,” said Dr. Limentani. “Brian (Vickers) had a deep venus thrombosis in the leg, which is a standard place for it to happen and some of that breaks out and it goes to the lungs.”

Tests run on Vickers found blood clots in his lungs and left leg which doctors have treated with blood thinning medication, which could lead to dangerous complications should Vickers be injured while driving a race car, leading to Vickers sitting out for the rest of the year.

Dr. Limentani said they are awaiting further test results to determine what caused Vickers’ DVT, but cautioned the might never determine a cause.

“It is not advisable for (Vickers) to race while he is on blood thinners,” said Dr. Limentani.

Vickers was admitted to the hospital while visiting Washington, D.C. last Wednesday after complaining of chest pains and was diagnosed with blood clots which forced him to sit out the weekend’s events at Dover Int’l Speedway while Casey Mears took over the wheel of the no. 83 Red Bull Toyota.

Vickers was released from the hospital last Friday and was allowed to return home to North Carolina, but was readmitted for several days over the weekend after experiencing chest pains again.

Doctors told Vickers it was lucky he went to the hospital as quickly as he did, a move that may have saved his life.

“All my friends and family have constantly reminded me that at least you’re still with us,” said Vickers. “I’m very fortunate that it happened the way it happened, we caught it, I went to the hospital and I have amazing doctors that are helping me through this. Thank God I’m still here.”

Vickers, the 2003 Nationwide Series champion, is in his seventh season in Sprint Cup and won his second career Sprint Cup race – and the first for Team red Bull - last year at Michigan. He was slated to start in his fourth Sprint All Star race this weekend.

Mears will be behind the wheel of the car for the events this weekend, and Frye said the team plans to keep Mears in the car, but may put a road racing specialist on the car for the two upcoming road course events.

Although not able to compete in the racecar, Vickers plans to stay busy working in other capacities for his race team.

“As disappointing as this is, it is an opportunity that I’m going to use to make the most of life, and try to make it a positive experience and learn something from it,” said Vickers. “I’m going to spent time with the race team, learning some different roles, spending some time on the pit box, trying to understand more about what they go through and what they do.

“I’m not going to be coming to every single race, I am going to take some time off and rest some - doctor’s orders. I going to do some stuff that, quite frankly, that I’ve wanted to do and haven’t been able to do. Maybe go to the Red Bull Air Race in New York, maybe go to an F1 race with the Red Bull Team.

“I do expect to be back in the car next season and win the Daytona 500.”

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