Auto Racing: Vickers travels from sickbed to winner's circle in 4 years

2013-07-15T00:00:00Z Auto Racing: Vickers travels from sickbed to winner's circle in 4 yearsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LOUDON, N.H. - Stuck in a hospital bed, Brian Vickers wanted to live another day.

Once he recovered, he hungered for a competitive ride.

And once he landed a solid seat, well, Vickers simply had to win.

Even when life tossed obstacles in Vickers' path, his determined spirit never waned. After four years of health scares and unemployment put his promising career in doubt, Vickers kept pushing toward the finish line. He got there Sunday as the surprise winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"Coming here and sitting in Victory Lane, just makes it one of the most special events in my life," Vickers said.

He had plenty of drivers in the series pulling for this comeback.

One by one, they saluted Vickers with a wave from the car or a back slap on the way to Victory Lane.

Close friend Jimmie Johnson, a five-time Cup champion, pumped his fist out the window in pure happiness as if he'd won a sixth title.

Vickers did all he could to savor the unforgettable scene.

"When you have so much love and support around you," Vickers said, "it makes all the difference in the world."

Vickers drives a part-time schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing and shares the No. 55 Toyota with Waltrip and Mark Martin. His win made him the No. 1 contender for a full-time ride at MWR in 2014.

Vickers snapped a 75-race winless streak; he hadn't won since the August 2009 race at Michigan. He won his first career Cup race in August 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Vickers made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in 2009, only to be sidelined most of the next season with blood clots. He had two procedures to close a hole in his heart and insert a stent into a vein in his left leg.

After Red Bull Racing shut down after the 2011 season, Vickers hooked on with a limited ride with MWR.

He has been driving full-time this season in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.

With his first checkered flag since his return, he is done looking back.

IndyCar

TORONTO - Scott Dixon swept the doubleheader weekend at Toronto with an easy victory Sunday on the street circuit at Exhibition Place.

It was Dixon's third consecutive win - in seven days - and it vaulted him from seventh in the standings to second.

His 32nd career victory also gave Dixon sole possession of seventh on the all-time wins list.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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