NASCAR's Brian Vickers: Getting Back On Track

Camille Jones@annaxcamilleContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 20:  Brian Vickers, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks to the media after testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 20, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Settling back into the seat of his race car after eight months of watching from the outside looking in, Brian Vickers had no reservations once he rolled back onto the banking of Daytona International Speedway.

The hiatus, brought upon Vickers by blood clots in his lungs and legs, was filled with tests and treatments, including open heart surgery, which removed him from the car for the rest of the 2010 season. With time and thought, Vickers decided to return behind the wheel for the 2011 season. 

"I realized that I couldn't not give it another shot," he said in an interview during winter testing at Daytona.

His time away from behind the wheel was not left to waste, in any shape or form. He states that he spent most of days spending time with family and traveling. It wasn't until August that he returned to a race track on race weekend. Arriving at Bristol Motor Speedway, he focused on his emotions from atop the pit box, watching his car drive circles around the bullpen with another driver behind the wheel.

"Just sitting there on the box trying to be supportive for the team, but it was just tearing me apart inside," he said. "I was just a wreck, a complete wreck."

That was when he made the final decision of where he knew he still belonged, behind the wheel of a race car. 

Returning in 2011, Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota began testing and refreshing his routine at the race track. Now that winter testing at DIS has rolled around, he and his new Red Bull Racing teammate, Kasey Kahne, are running strong together and Vickers describes the team relationship as "phenomenal."

In the end, with the new season approaching quickly, he feels that his place on the race track is "like an old shoe, just fit right back on."