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Brian Vickers says he’ll be back on blood thinners for at least three months 500 - Practice 500 - Practice

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Brian Vickers said Sunday that he’ll be on blood-thinning medicine at least three months after small blood clots were found in both lungs Thursday. Vickers cannot race while on blood thinners.

Vickers said he first experienced sharp chest pain when taking deep breaths on a flight to Los Angeles on Thursday and went to a hospital later that day.

This is the third time since 2010 that blood clots have forced Vickers out of the car.

Asked Sunday if he’s worried this could be the end of his driving career, Vickers said: “Am I worried? Yes. Have I given up hope? No.’'

Now that he has three months before he can even hope to race, Vickers says he’ll have time to examine his future.

“I’ll just try to figure out what makes sense with my doctors if I can come back off of (blood thinners) and go racing, if there is some kind of plan that works,’' he said. “If not, then that’s that. We’re so far away from crossing that bridge at this point, I can’t really say.’'

Vickers said he’s not sure what caused the blood clots. He said in his previous cases, doctors have identified what caused the issue.

He admits he tried to convince himself he was not having blood clot issues when at his California hotel Thursday. As his breathing did not improve, Vickers went to the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Needless to say, it’s pretty frustrating, but I’ve been here before,’' Vickers said at Auto Club Speedway. “That’s life. You’ve just got to keep fighting, you can’t give up. You never know what tomorrow holds.’'

With Vickers out, Brett Moffitt was placed in the No. 55 car this weekend. Michael Waltrip Racing has not announced its plans for that car beyond this weekend.

Vickers’ health problems started in 2010. He missed the final 25 races of the that season after he was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and left leg and placed on blood-thinning medicine. He also had heart surgery in July 2010 to close a hole between the right and left atriums.

A small blood clot was discovered in his right calf in Oct. 2013 - three months after he won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The blood clot forced Vickers to again take blood-thinning medicine and miss the rest of the season. He said he has not been on blood thinners since the end of 2013.

He returned in 2014 and ran the full season for Michael Waltrip Racing without any health issues.

Vickers missed the first two races of this season as he recovered from corrective heart surgery in December. He needed the surgery after his body began rejecting the patch placed over a hole in his heart in 2010.

“I’ve been told now three times that I’ll never race again, and I’ve raced the last two weeks,’' Vickers said Sunday. “I love racing more than any other activity that I do. It’s not who I am. There’s more to life than just this. Keeping that perspective is important, but it’s also my favorite thing to do in the world, so I want to try to come back.’'

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