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We now enter the part of the season where Mark Martin takes a step back and enjoys his semi-retirement. Martin, scheduled to drive 24 points races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, takes his hiatus after putting his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota sixth in owner points.
Now it’s Brian Vickers’ turn to pick up where Martin left off. Vickers, running a full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, will take the wheel of the No. 55 at Bristol on Sunday – a track at which he scored two top fives during a partial schedule last season.
Vickers finished fifth in the 2012 spring Bristol race, and followed that up with a fourth in the summer Bristol night race. He scored a Driver Rating of 120.4 in the spring race, leading a single-race career-high 125 laps. A two-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Vickers has started strong in his first full NNS season since his championship-winning 2003 campaign. He has led laps in all three races this season, with a top finish of third last week at Las Vegas.
Vickers is scheduled to run nine races in the No. 55 this season, with owner Michael Waltrip filling out the car’s remaining schedule (both Talladega races and the July Daytona race).