Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Waltrip to Drive No. 55 at Talladega

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Waltrip to Drive No. 55 at Talladega

Article excerpt

Michael Waltrip will return to the No. 55 Toyota next week at Talladega Superspeedway as his race team tries to finalize a more stable plan to replace Brian Vickers.

Vickers, who has a history of blood clots, learned last month they had returned. He requires blood thinners to treat the clots, and he cannot race while taking the medication.

Michael Waltrip Racing has used development driver Brett Moffitt in the No. 55 the last month, and he's scheduled to drive the car this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia.

"I love Brett, I love his spirit," Waltrip said Thursday. "He's 22 years old, not a lot of experience, and he came out of the gates running. He's done everything we could have hoped for him to do with his amount of experience and where our cars are, and I know he's thankful for the opportunity."

Moffitt, who finished eighth at Atlanta as Vickers' replacement, was 17th last Sunday night at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.

MWR as a company has not performed up to expectations this season with its two-car team, and Moffitt has been only on a week-to-week basis since Vickers was sidelined before the March 22 race at California. Vickers also missed the first two races of the year as he recovered from offseason heart surgery.

The team is believed to be trying to sign David Ragan to drive the No. 55 beginning next month at Kansas. Ragan is currently the replacement driver for Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, but JGR is leaning toward putting 18-year-old development driver Erik Jones in the car until Busch returns.

Meanwhile, Waltrip was looking forward to getting back in a race car.

"When I get the chance to do it, I know how to race, I know what to expect," he said.

BUSCH UNSURE OF RETURN DATE

While Kyle Busch is happy several speedways have moved to cover more unprotected walls with Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers, he's still not happy about being the reason.

Busch suffered a compound fracture of his right leg and a broken leg ankle during the Feb. 21 Xfinity Series race at the Daytona International Speedway. His car veered out of control just past the finish line and slammed head-first into a concrete wall. …

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