Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that Brian Vickers will drive the team’s No. 55 Toyota Camry in six NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012 beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18.
Vickers will also race the No. 55 at the August Bristol event as well as each of the two races at Martinsville Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway this season.
“I am thrilled to get back behind the wheel of not just a race car, but a very fast race car,” said Vickers who earned Toyota Racing Development its first Chase for the Sprint Cup entry in 2009.
“I’m lucky to find a ride of this quality so early in the season. That Toyota won the pole last weekend in Phoenix and you saw it up front throughout the race. I know how good (crew chief) Rodney Childers and team are. I’ve known Rodney since I was eight years old. This car is tied for sixth in points right now. This is going to be fun. I appreciate the opportunity Michael and the entire MWR organization are giving me.”
Vickers, 28, owns two victories and 11 poles. Until this season, the Thomasville, N.C. native competed full time in the Sprint Cup Series for eight years. In 2011, he scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
Vickers began his Sprint Cup career in 2003 driving for Hendrick Motorsports before moving to Red Bull Racing in 2007. Vickers has raced only Toyotas since the manufacturer entered Sprint Cup competition in 2007.
“Brian Vickers is a veteran driver with almost 10 years experience, but he hasn’t even turned 30 yet,” said MWR owner Michael Waltrip.
“He’s shown he can win at this level and we have every confidence he’ll run well with us. I believe in second chances and this is great opportunity for us and Brian. 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.”
Waltrip drove the No. 55 in the Budweiser Shootout and will run in four more races in 2012. Mark Martin will drive the No. 55 in 24 races plus the All Star Race in Charlotte. MWR will name a driver for two road course events later.