"Mark is a big part of our organization and is committed to our sponsors, especially Aaron's and Toyota," said team owner Michael Waltrip. "We have a lot of goals yet to reach this year and we are very focused on accomplishing them."
On Friday, both squads were attempting to put a brave face on the embarrassing situation and doing their best to insist that there were no strained relationships between the two Toyota-powered camps.
"I think it is great that a driver of Mark's caliber is available to support our fellow Toyota team during this difficult time for them," said Waltip, wishing Hamlin a speedy recovery
"Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in," admitted JD Gibbs. "When you start a process like this, you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer."
Hamlin is expected to be out for six weeks or five Cup races, as this weekend sees NASCAR take a break for Easter. With Martin taking the car for next week's even at Martinsville, Vickers can now expect to compete at Texas, Kansas, Richmond and Talladega over the following weeks with Hamlin aiming to return to racing at Darlington on May 11.
Vickers will also be competing in the Cup race at Martinsville, as he was already contracted to take over the #55 for that event, one of ten that Mark Martin is not running in his partial 2013 season.
Vickers raced full-time in the NACAR Sprint Cup championship with Red Bull Racing from 2007 until their exit from the sport at the end of 2011, although he missed most of the 2010 season after being diagnosed with a medical condition involving blood clots. Unable to find a new full-time Cup seat with a top team, Vickers opted for a part-time slot in the #55 shared with Martin and Waltrip, while returning to the Nationwide Series in which he was champion in 2003.
The 29-year-old from North Carolina has had one Cup start so far in 2013 which saw him finish in the top ten at Bristol. In the Nationwide Series, he's had one pole position and and finished in third place twice in the five races of the season to date.