Brian Vickers is back – at least for six Sprint Cup Series races.
Michael Waltrip Racing announced Thursday that Vickers, the former Red Bull Racing and Hendrick Motorsports driver, will be behind the wheel of its No. 55 car for six races this season: Both Bristol races, both Martinsville races and both New Hampshire races.
Elliott Sadler had previously been announced for those races, but Sadler was forced to back out after Nationwide Series team owner Richard Childress objected to the deal.
"I believe in second chances, and this is great opportunity for us and Brian," team owner Michael Waltrip said. "He wants to show the world how good he really is and we believe in the equipment and people we're putting him with in 2012."
Vickers, who caught flak after being involved in five cautions at Martinsville last fall, has been unable to find a ride since Red Bull shut down at the end of the season. He attended the Daytona 500 with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but was not in a car.
"I am thrilled to get back behind the wheel of not just a race car, but a very fast race car," Vickers said. "I'm lucky to find a ride of this quality so early in the season."
Sadler was originally scheduled to run five races – the two Bristol and Martinsville events, plus the July race at New Hampshire – but Vickers was announced as running both New Hampshire races.
That means Martin will drive one less race than originally scheduled, cutting back his total amount to 24. In addition to Vickers' six races, Waltrip will drive the No. 55 car in four races and a road course specialist will be named later for Sonoma and Watkins Glen.