Brian Vickers will miss the start of the 2015 NASCAR season after undergoing surgery Saturday to repair a hole in his heart.
In a statement, Vickers said he began feeling ill late last week and went to the hospital for tests, which revealed his body was rejecting the artificial patch he had for a previous heart problem.
Michael Waltrip Racing has not named a replacement driver for the start of the season and it is unclear how long Vickers will be out.
"I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again,'' the 31-year-old said. "I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab, but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.''