In some respects the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season begins Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway for Brian Vickers and the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine.
That’s perfect with Vickers.
He finished fifth and fourth in the spring and summer races at the half-mile, high-banked track last year and posted an eighth-place finish in March.
He’s now the driver for the Aaron’s Dream Machine for the remainder of this season, except at Talladega, and the full-time driver for multiple years beginning next season. Vickers’ story is more than just a race car driver getting into a race car. His is a story of overcoming professional and health obstacles that would have stymied others.
VICKERS STORY IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I was diagnosed with blood clots in 2010. Essentially my lungs stopped working and I couldn't breathe and went to the emergency room. Luckily they figured out what it was before they completely stopped. It was a pretty painful experience and I was in and out of the hospital for about a month and then on blood thinners for six months and out of the car for the rest of the season. I came back in 2011 with Red Bull and then unfortunately Red Bull decided to shut down so was in a situation in 2012 not knowing what was next. There weren’t many good rides available. There were a couple of opportunities but nothing I was really excited about and then the chance with MWR and Aaron's and the No. 55 Dream Machine came available. Unfortunately, it was only six races at the time but it was still a winning race car with a crew and a crew chief that I felt confident I could win with. I jumped at that opportunity to partner with Mark (Martin) and I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity. We were able to run well which led to more races last year and this year and then subsequently to a full-time ride again in the Sprint Cup Series. I don't think it has actually sunk in. I mean, it's one of those things similar to the win in Loudon: it just takes time for it to settle in and to appreciate all that it is. It's a thrilling opportunity for me, especially after everything that's happened. If everything in the last 10 or so years in my NASCAR career had gone perfect, it would still be a thrilling opportunity. I’m very thankful and excited about the future.”
PHILOSOPHY: “Well, it's been a long road. I think, not to make it too simple, but don't ever give up. You never know what the future holds. You never know what's coming next. It's tough. That's part of life. There's always going to be ups and downs. You've just got to keep digging and not give up. For me, I certainly can't take all the credit, because it's been the support of my family, the qualities my parents instilled in me, the support of them and my friends that have helped through all that, surrounding yourself with good people that have your back no matter what, that love you unconditionally, support you through the tough times, whether they're out of your control or maybe they were in your control. That's probably one of the biggest things. I've been fortunate to find some quality people and have a great family. Just keep fighting, keep digging, try to keep a positive attitude the best you can. You're not always going to have that, but you just do your best, have faith that the tides will turn.”