Brian Vickers plans to race this year
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Brian Vickers, who will miss the Daytona 500 for the first time since 2007, vows he will be back in a Sprint Cup car in 2012.
In a video posted on Facebook before Saturday's Budweiser Shootout, the former Red Bull Racing driver explained why he doesn't have a ride for the Daytona 500 and what his plans are for the future.
"I'm right now sitting at home, but that's OK," Vickers said in the video. "I've got some great ideas that I'm very excited about. We're working with and talking to several of the sponsors in exploring a lot of options. I'm not going to fill you all in yet, but some options I'm pretty excited about.
"The point of the story is, I plan on being in a race car in 2012, hopefully in a car that I can win with and contend for championships with. I will keep you up to date. There will be more updates to follow, hopefully soon, as to what those plans are."
Vickers did not return messages from ESPN.com. He began his remarks by thanking everyone from fans to media for their support over the past few years. The 2003 Nationwide Series champion explained that he explored many options for this season, but none that "were the right fit."
"It has to be a two-way street and it has to be a fit for them as well as for me, where I feel I can be happy," Vickers said. "But most importantly, (to) compete at a level to win races and contend for championships. Unfortunately, I was not able to find that fit that made sense for me."
Vickers has two wins and 11 poles in 255 Sprint Cup starts. His lone win for Red Bull Racing came at Michigan in 2009, when he made the Chase and finished 12th.
Vickers missed much of the 2010 season after blood clots were discovered in his veins. He returned to finish 25th in points in a 2011 season that ended with an ugly feud with Roush Fenway Racing driver Matt Kenseth.
Vickers and Kenseth got into it initially in the fall race at Martinsville and later at Phoenix after Vickers vowed revenge. He was involved in so many incidents at Martinsville that good friend Jimmie Johnson did not come to his defense.
"After a fourth, fifth time with the same car in the crash, you start thinking about maybe you're the problem," Johnson said.
Vickers said in the video that he tried to organize financial groups to help purchase Red Bull Racing assets after the organization decided to shut down following the season. Once that failed, he looked at several other organizations in need of drivers.
Among the teams that added new drivers after the season were Penske Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Phoenix Racing.
"We went from sitting on poles and winning races and contending in the Chase to rushing to the hospital, being out of the race car, back in the car," Vickers said. "Now, unfortunately, I'm sitting at home during the Daytona Bud Shootout, one of my favorite races, by the way."
Vickers said he expects to be at Daytona International Speedway at some point this weekend.
"I can't tell you how much your support over this weekend, and quite frankly the last several years, has meant to me," he concluded in the video. "But I promise you I'll be back in a car and I'm going to contend for wins, and I'm excited about it."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com
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The 54th running of the Daytona 500 is in the books. What started as a new season of hope for all ended its first chapter with one of the most memorable events in NASCAR history.