Last week before Dover, Red Bull Racing announced that due to Brian Vickers' diagnosis of blood clots and on- going testing and treatment, that Casey Mears would be subbing for Vickers in the #83 Red Bull Toyota at Dover.
Now with the 26th annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a non-points race that is coming up this Saturday night, would Brian Vickers return at the All-Star race and drive the #83 or not.
Yesterday, Red Bull Racing would answer that question when:
Red Bull Racing announced that the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota has requested a driver change and has been cleared by NASCAR to participate in Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Casey Mears will again pilot the No. 83 because of primary driver Brian Vickers' diagnosis of blood clots and ongoing testing and treatment.This has touched off a huge debate on which drivers should be eligible and which drivers are not eligible including the fill-in driver Casey Mears.
"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 Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team general manager and vice president. (Red Bull Racing Press Release)
Here is the way I look at it, what some don’t understand and judging by this announcement neither does NASCAR is that the driver qualifies for the race, not the team or the owner. So when it comes to Brian Vickers and the #83 Toyota, Brian Vickers qualified for the All-Star, not the #83 Toyota with just any driver.
Now I realize that Brian Vickers is out because of a medical condition that will not let him drive and rightful so, and that the #83 Red Bull Racing has the right to have a fill-in driver, but that fill-in driver has either has to be already qualified for the All-Star race or that driver should have to race in the Sprint Showdown and either win or place second to get into the race.
In the case of Casey Mears, he doesn’t qualify for the All-Star race, there for Mears should have to complete and advance through the Sprint Showdown to be allowed into the All-Star race. That’s not fair to all of the drivers who qualified, nor NASCAR fans. If a driver is in the All-Star race, that means he qualified either by being a past All-Star winner (within the last 10 years), winning a race within the last season.
Now before I go, I do want to say that some fans are questioning why the #09 Phoenix Racing isn’t allowed to have a fill-in driver considering Brad Keselowski won last year at Talladega, which qualified Brad Keselowski for the All-Star race, but is driving the #12 instead. The key is Brad Keselowski qualified, not the #09. If the #09 wants to be in the race, get a driver that is either already qualified or drive in the Sprint Showdown.