By Kelly Crandall (MARTINSVILLE, Va.) – Brian Vickers could be bitter that for the second time in his NASCAR career blood clots have taken him out of his racecar.
Instead, the 30-year-old North Carolina native is staying positive and looking ahead to the future. Vickers addressed the media for the first time Sunday at Martinsville since learning he had a blood clot in the calf region of his right leg earlier this month. It takes him out of both his Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series rides for the remainder of the season.
“I feel like I could drive a race car, I just can’t,” Vickers said about his health. “Still training, still exercising – I miss being here, I wish I was here today. All in all, I feel good. I’ve told many people this since everything happened. I can’t complain. I’ve got a great life and family and friends.
“I’m frustrated and I’ve been bummed since obviously all this happened again. I’m just kind of looking forward. Things happen in life – that’s part of it. You just keep fighting and have faith. That’s all you can really do. I’m going to be out for three months and back in time for Daytona to race for a championship.”
Looking at the good news in the situation, the clot was caught early enough that Vickers could sit out the remainder of the year but still be able to race when the 2014 season starts. And it wasn’t something that randomly popped up either, Vickers noting that an outside factor caused it and he isn’t in danger of developing clots spontaneously in the future.
After crashing at Bristol in which he sprained his foot, Vickers wore a walking boot. In stabilizing his ankle the clot developed. Noticing swelling and soreness after the boot had come off Vickers went to the doctors ahead of Texas testing, believing he’d go for a checkup and then head to the test. Instead he received the news that he again had to go on blood thinners.
“I think I look at it more like, that’s life. That’s just part of life,” Vickers said when asked how he felt about this happening to him again. “Everyone in this room probably has some type of setbacks at some point in their life. I’ve had a lot of them, but I’ve also had a lot of good things happen. I try to really focus on those and I’m very thankful to have the family and friends that I have – I have an amazing wife and I just couldn’t be happier.”
What takes Vickers out of the car isn’t that he has a clot or that he’s on blood thinners. He can still race in spite of those things, the big but though, is that he can’t crash while racing on blood thinners. And there’s no way to insure that he won’t.
Before the clot developed he had been competing full-time in the NNS with Joe Gibbs Racing for the championship while preparing to return to the NSCS full-time in 2014 with Michael Waltrip Racing and Aaron’s. He won a race earlier this year with the group in New Hampshire and has had the full support of his team and sponsors since being taken out of the car.
“I still want to win a championship. That’s kind of the reason I came back. I look at this incident and I think to myself, this kind of sucks, but if it would have happened a little sooner than we may not have got the deal to race for a championship next year,” Vickers said.
“If it happened a little bit later, I would not have been able to race for a championship later. I guess that’s maybe just me trying to spin it to make the most of it, but that’s all you can really do in life. You just make the most of the cards you’re dealt. Unfortunately, I’ve been dealt some bad cars at times, but no one should feel sorry for me.”
“I’ve been dealt some great cards too. I think in most of the areas of life that matter most I’m very thankful. I’m surrounded by great family and friends. I am healthy. Obviously I have a health issue right now, but it’s been managed, it’s been taken care of, it’s not life threatening at the moment. It is what it is, you just have to keep going.”
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