Casey Mears will replace Brian Vickers for this weekend’s All-Star event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Red Bull Racing officials report that Vickers is responding well to treatment for his blood clots, which is great news. However, Vickers’ absence may extend from days or weeks to months. According to ESPN, Vickers could possibly miss up to three months while recuperating from this unfortunate ailment.
While Vickers is recovering physically, Mears will receive an opportunity to recover his once promising career. Of course, Mears, who is a close friend of Vickers, would prefer a separate set of circumstances, as no one likes to watch a friend suffer an illness such as this. Nevertheless, it is not an easy time in NASCAR for drivers without rides and sponsorship promises, so this is an opportunity knocking on Mears’ front door. Mears will endeavor to put himself back on the radar.
On Wednesday, Red Bull Racing official, Jay Frye, announced that Casey Mears will compete in the Sprint Cup All-Star race, despite the fact that Mears’ only Sprint Cup victory occurred nearly three years ago in the 2007 Coca Cola 600. Vickers and his No. 83 Toyota team celebrated victory at Michigan International Speedway last August, reserving a slot in the 2010 All-Star event.
“Given the extenuating circumstances we have dealt with this past week regarding Brian’s health, we would like to thank NASCAR for their assistance and understanding of this unique situation by allowing us to compete in the All-Star Race,” said Frye.
NASCAR will allow Mears to replace Vickers in the All-Star race, despite the race the Mears himself did not earn the spot. However, the No. 83 team did earn an All-Star berth; therefore, they should not be deprived of the opportunity. I agree with NASCAR’s decision. In fact, for years, the winning car owner would earn a spot in the All-Star race if the driver from the previous season won a race, even if the current driver did not win.
My question is, what if Casey Mears somehow wins the All-Star race, is it Mears or Vickers who earns an automatic bid for future events? Vickers is the driver that earned the bid to compete in the race. Mears winning the race as the relief driver would complicate things a bit. Mears would not be racing if not for Vickers. So, how does this work?
It certainly is a thought provoking situation. From my understanding, the driver earns the automatic All-Star berths by winning the race, so it appears as if Mears would earn the reserved slot if he were to pull it off, even if he is just the relief driver.