Red Bull Racing’s Brian Vickers was hospitalized Wednesday with an undisclosed medical condition and Casey Mears will replace him this weekend at Dover International Speedway, the team announced Thursday.
Vickers is undergoing testing and further evaluation. The team did not give further details of why Vickers was hospitalized.
“It is unfortunate that I will not be able to participate in the Dover race,” Vickers said in a news release. “Casey is a good friend of mine, and I know he will do his best for the No. 83 team this weekend.”
Vickers, who is in his fourth season with Red Bull Racing, made the Chase For The Sprint Cup last year but is 20th in points this year. He is 160 points out of the Chase after last week’s 10th-place finish at Darlington Raceway.
“Our main concern right now is with Brian and his health and recovery,” said Red Bull Racing General Manager Jay Frye. “All things are looking good at the moment; this is just a minor setback. We appreciate Casey filling in this weekend and know he will represent the team well.”
Mears was left without a ride this season when Richard Childress Racing dropped from four to three teams. He has driven for Keyed-Up Motorsports and Tommy Baldwin Racing this year as well as spending two races on standby for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin following his knee surgery.
With Mears leaving TBR to replace Vickers, Johnny Sauter is expected to attempt to qualify the TBR car this weekend.
Vickers has 219 career starts with two wins – one with Hendrick Motorsports at Talladega in 2006 and one with Red Bull at Michigan last August. The 2003 Busch Series champion, Vickers’ best finish in the Cup standings is 12th last year.
This season, he has three top-10 finishes in 11 starts.
Mears has 254 career starts with one victory – in the Coca-Cola 600 in May 2007.
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