Sports

Brian Vickers to miss only 2 NASCAR races after surgery to repair hole in his heart

NASCAR driver Brian Vickers has been medically cleared to return to racing in March, just three months after surgery to repair a hole in his heart.

Vickers will miss only the first two races of the season before he returns to his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. NASCAR on Tuesday granted him a waiver to make him eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship should he qualify.

Team co-owner Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 55 for Vickers in the season-opening Daytona 500. A replacement driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta has not yet been named.

Vickers had surgery in December as doctors corrected an artificial patch his body was rejecting. Vickers received the patch in a 2010 procedure that first fixed the hole in his heart.