2010 was a lost season for Brian Vickers due to blood clots in his legs and around his lungs. He participated in only 11 races and then his medical condition brought a swift end to his season. In 2011 he’ll return to the 83 car.
2009 was a breakthrough year for Vickers. He made his first career Chase due to strong runs in the summer and clinched his playoff berth at Richmond by holding off Kyle Busch. However once he got into the Chase things got really bad for him. Brian Vickers didn’t finish in the top ten once and finished 723 points behind Jimmie Johnson.
I don’t think fantasy racers should worry about Vickers extended absence from the car. I don’t foresee this being an issue because when Daytona rolls around everyone will be a little rusty from their three month break. His car will still be very competitive because Kahne proved how fast they were by winning the pole at Homestead (Vickers won 6 poles in 2009)
Strengths – Brian Vickers is a good qualifier. In 2009 he won 6 poles and was second to only Mark Martin when it came to starting first. Brian Vickers is at his best on intermediate tracks and big flat tracks.
Weaknesses – Brian Vickers is a streaky driver and when things go bad, they go really bad.
Intermediate Track Grade- B+, In order for Brian Vickers to succeed in 2011 good performances on intermediate tracks are a must. Look for him to have his best runs on intermediate tracks were the high line’s the fast line (Atlanta, Michigan, etc.)
Flat Track Grade- B, Brian Vickers didn’t visit any of the big flat tracks in 2010 (Indy & Pocono) but I can assure you those are his best flat tracks. He’s a worthy pick on both of those tracks. On the short flat tracks I say pass.
Restrictor Plate Tracks – B, Brian Vickers got the first win of his career at Talladega in dramatic fashion. Since then he’s consistently run towards the front of the pack at these tracks. In 2009 Vickers finished in the top 13 three times. That’s pretty good at these tracks. In 2010 he finished 15th and 29th at these wild card tracks.
Short Track Grade- B, Brian Vickers was pretty good in his two short track showing in 2010. He finished 15th at Bristol and sixth at Martinsville. In 2009 he capped off the short track season with a 12th at Bristol, 7th at Richmond, 11th at Martinsville.
Road Course Track Grade- B, – In 2009 Vickers won the pole at Infineon and lead 15% of the race and at Watkins Glen he finished 11th (2009). Vickers didn’t race at a single serpentine track in 2010.
How to use Brian Vickers from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective? Focus on using Brian Vickers at the big flat tracks and intermediate tracks. Although he’s shown potential at other track types I say play it safe with Vickers and use him as recommended.