Brian Vickers graced the cover of our Fall 2011 issue. Since that time, he’s been quite the busy guy! We finally caught up with him to get an update on his health, racing career and more.
PP: When you first starting having blood clots, you were diagnosed with May-Thurner syndrome – a rare condition. What would you like readers to know about this condition?
Vickers: It’s a tough question to answer. It’s one of those things where you have it or you don’t. It’s not a hereditary thing. It just “is” when it comes to the make up of your body. In this case, I had it and my vein/artery were compressed together. It may have been compounded by exposure to some carbon monoxide and then double duty at Talladega the next weekend where I literally was in the car for almost eight hours straight. The bottom line is they fixed it all with a stint and I am as good, if not better, than I was before
PP: In 2011, you mentioned your work with Clot Connect – can you elaborate on your involvement with this organization, and the kind of things they do to help others?
Vickers: Clot Connect is a great organization. Dr. Moll and Beth Waldron do a very difficult job of trying to answer and help out as many patients in need of information as they possibly can. They do a great job of keeping up their website with the most relevant data in terms of new findings in both clotting and the advances in medicine. They work tirelessly- whether its new blogs from Dr. Moll or Beth answering all the patients questions on the forum. My role with them has been more about getting the word out than anything! It becomes a numbers game. The more people that see and know about the service, the better chance people will go to them as a resource if they or someone they know about has clotting issues- or even just general questions. It would be incredible to tie racing, marketing, sponsorship, and Clot Connect all together. It’s a win-win for all.
PP: Last fall, it was announced that you would return to race the full Nationwide Championship series – the series you won at age 20, ten years ago. What led you to this decision?
Vickers: Its crazy to think that it was ten years ago. A lot has changed!! These days it’s all about being competitive. Ten years ago the sport was massively strong and teams had more sponsors than cars. Today with the changing landscape of the sport and the economy, it’s the opposite – so you have to keep your stock as high as possible. My final season at Red Bull was not a good one. The partial schedule last year was an awesome one. I want to be competitive. I want to get the most out of the opportunities I have been given. That all being said, running for the Nationwide Championship again with Joe Gibbs Racing and part time with Waltrip in 2013 is the best opportunities for me. JGRs Nationwide program is second to none and it’s my best chance to win that title again, something I am pretty excited about.
PP: Racing full-time sounds like it leaves little room for much else! What do you do when you have down time?
Vickers: Hmm. Good question. There hasn’t been too much down time for me. It’s been trying to get ready for the 2013 season. That’s been everything from meetings and photo shoots to being in a car testing. But, when I have escaped I’ve been at home in Miami a bit, which has been relaxing. Hanging out at the beach there has been fantastic. I literally was on a beach with some of my friends for New Years and I got to experience sailing. I spent some time at Disney World with my family too, which was fun. I have some nephews that really enjoyed it, but it’s been mainly low key. Nothing over the top!
PP: We know you stay connected to your fans through social media – what does having that connection mean to you?
Vickers: It’s just great to know that they care. The fans are the backbone of the sport if you think about it. Sponsors spend a great deal of time and money working out how to reach the fans. They in turn purchase the product and services. I do enjoy seeing their comments and answering their questions. We try to make a more personal connection at the track with appearances and signings, but if I’m watching TV or sitting in the airport its cool to pull up Twitter or Facebook and see what they are saying.