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Vickers back to full-time Cup ride in 2014

Brian Vickers has secured a return to full-season racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2014 with Michael Waltrip Racing.
Michael Waltrip Racing has confirmed the long-expected news that Brian Vickers will once more be a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver again in 2014, with MWR and sponsors Aaron's announcing a full 36-race deal for the 29-year-old driver next season.

"This is a big announcement today because it shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the sport of NASCAR and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organisation,” said the eponymous team co-owner and driver, Michael Waltrip.

Vickers won the 2003 Nationwide Series championship before moving to full-time Cup competition with Hendrick Motorsports. He subsequently accepted an offer to join the newly-formed Red Bull Racing team in 2007, but in May 2010 was forced to pull out of that year's competition after being diagnosed with a serious medical condition that left him with blood clots in his lungs and legs.

After responding to treatment which included heart surgery, Vickers returned to RBR in 2011 only to be rocked to learn that the team was to completely pull out of US stock car competition at the end of that season. That left him without a full time ride, although he accepted an offer from Michael Waltrip to drive the team's #55 car for ten Cup races per year as relief for veteran driver Mark Martin who was moving to a part-time schedule.

That set Vickers up as heir apparent to the wheel of the #55 once Martin's contract with MWR came to an end, and last month Vickers pressed home that claim to the seat by winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, after 75 races between visits to victory lane. That win seemed to be enough to reassure retail chain Aaron's that Vickers was the right man to carry their colours full time in 2014.

"The victory in New Hampshire certainly helped," said Aaron's director of sports marketing Rich Lamprey when asked. "Brian was a true competitor there. He really got up on the wheel and drove his heart out. It proved something to us, and that was a big moment."

“We at Aaron's are thrilled about this partnership," said Ronald W Allen, chairman, president and CEO of the home appliance, furniture and electronics, retail chain. "We're building a championship organization – and we know that Brian Vickers and the #55 team, under Michael Waltrip's tradition of winning, are focused on building a championship calibre team.

"So many of our customers are enthusiastic and loyal NASCAR fans and we are proud to be a part of a sport they are passionate about," Allen added. "We are looking forward to continued success with Brian Vickers both on and off the track."

Vickers said that he was delighted to be back in full time Cup competition, after filling out his 2013 schedule with a return to the Nationwide Series with Joe Gibbs Racing.




Related Pictures

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Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Owner Michael Waltrip, driver Brian Vickers, Aaron`s CEO Ronald W. Allen and Aaron`s VP of Marketing Andrea Freeman unveil the new 2014 No. 55 Toyota Camry Aaron`s Dream Machine on August 13, 2013 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Aaron`s and Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Vickers will pilot the car for all 36 Sprint Cup races in 2014.
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Brian France, NASCAR President (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 21st position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Newman is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 5th position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick is 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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