By AMANDA VINCENT
Multiple published reports from Wednesday, beginning with one from the Associated Press, Brian Vickers will fill-in for the injured Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, provided Vickers obtains medical clearance from NASCAR. Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a press conference for 11:30 a.m. ET Friday, presumably to announce Stewart’s replacement at Daytona.
Front-row qualifying for the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday. The Can-Am Duel is scheduled for the evening of Feb. 18, with the Daytona 500 slated for Feb. 21. Stewart was also qualified for the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race, scheduled for Saturday night, as a previous winner of the event.
Although Stewart is temporarily out of commission and Vickers in ineligible for the Sprint Unlimited, if Vickers is medically cleared to race the No. 14 at Daytona, he also may get to drive the car in the Unlimited, pending a decision by NASCAR. Given the fact that the No. 14 was already preparing a Sprint Unlimited car when Stewart was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Jan. 31, NASCAR is, reportedly, considering allowing the No. 14 team to run a car in the Sprint Unlimited with a substitute driver.
Vickers missed nearly all of the 2015 season, sidelined by a recurring issue with blood clots last March. He competed in only two races last season after missing the first two races of the year at Daytona and Atlanta Motor Speedway, also because of blood clots. Vickers first was plagued by clots in 2010. He wound up running only the first 11 races that season, as a result. In 2014, his blood clot problem returned, causing him to miss the last four races of that season and the first two races of last season. Vickers last raced in March 2015.
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