Saturday, March 30, 2013

UPDATE: Brian Vickers in No. 11 beginning at Texas

Brian Vickers at Charlotte, Oct. 2012
Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
Joe Gibbs Racing revealed that Brian Vickers will step into the No. 11 FedEx Camry beginning at Texas Motor Speedway on April 14th. Previously JGR announced Mark Martin would fill in for the injured Denny Hamlin the entire time he will be sidelined. Instead, Martin substitutes for Hamlin only at Martinsville on April 7th.

Hamlin suffered a compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway March 24th, setting off widespread speculation as to who would fill in during Hamlin's projected six-week-long recuperation. Elliott Sadler's name came up in almost every conversation, as did Brian Vickers; the announcement of Martin was a bit of a surprise given his previous commitments with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Vickers and Martin share the No. 55 ride for MWR, while Vickers pilots the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for JGR in the Nationwide Series. Vickers will race MWR’s No. 55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry at Martinsville, leaving Martin free to drive the No. 11 that week, but apparently MWR sponsor Aaron's wanted Martin to remain in the No. 55 for the races to which he'd already committed, continuing April 13th at Texas Motor Speedway.

Founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip said, "Mark is a big part of our organization and is committed to our sponsors, especially Aaron's and Toyota. We have a lot of goals yet to reach this year and we are very focused on accomplishing them."

Mark Martin and the Great American Sweethearts at
Texas Motor Speedway. Credit: Debbit Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
JGR president J.D. Gibbs said, "Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and 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."

"We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville. We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial."



Janine, aka Lisa or LJ, Cloud, a fifth-generation Texan, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track.

She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, going from contributor to media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar. Janine considers it a privilege to represent the site at the track and to share with readers the excitement of the world of motorsports.

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