It’s déjà vu all over again for Brian Vickers

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Friday, Mar 06 1594
It was a different place but a familiar scene for Michael Waltrip Racing driver Brian Vickers.

“I feel like we've had this press conference before,” Vickers quipped on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he’ll return to racing in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the 1.5-mile track.

Three times in the past five years, Vickers has been sidelined by serious medical issues. In May 2010 he was diagnosed with blood clots in his legs and lungs and missed the balance of that season. In 2013, the recurrence of blood clot in his right calf kept Vickers out of action from mid-October through the end of the season.

And December heart surgery to replace an artificial patch designed to repair a hole between the two upper chambers of his heart.

After missing the first two races of the season, Vickers is ready for his third comeback.

“There are certainly times where I wasn't sure if I was ever going to be back and then you kind of deal with those emotions and then all the sudden you're back and then you have to deal with those emotions, Vickers said on Friday. “I couldn't be more thrilled about it. I think to a large extent a month ago, I was as curious as probably some of you were as to how I would feel (this) morning.

“I can tell you I couldn't be happier. I was talking to someone on the way in and they asked what my emotions were going into this and I kind of look at it like a win-win. If we go out there and do well, that's great. And even if we don't, just being able to get back in a race car again and go 200 (mph) is incredible.”

Vickers, however, isn’t about to temper his excitement with conservative expectations.

“No matter what the outcome, I'm happy to be here and happy to be back in a car again and get a chance to do something I love, but I'm an optimist,” Vickers said. “I think we're going to go out there and do well.”