Healthy Vickers eyes prize of another New Hampshire win

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Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014 8:21 pm

LOUDON, N.H. — Brian Vickers

 can already claim a victory this season without taking a checkered flag. Vickers has started all 18 Sprint Cup races, the kind of run that’s a given for stars like Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon. For Vickers, the number holds a special significance. It means the blood clots that have cost him major chunks of his career since 2010 have yet to return. He missed 25 races in 2010 when clots were discovered in his legs and, while he was out, he had heart surgery to prevent future clots from moving through his body to his brain. A blood clot in his right calf found in October sidelined Vickers for the final five races of 2013 because he was taking blood thinners. If he crashed, the thinners would make it impossible for doctors to stop internal bleeding. Recovered and ready to race, Vickers knows the clots could always return. “I wouldn’t say that I linger on it or I let it kind of affect my daily life,” he said. “You just kind of have to move on. I certainly am conscious of it and I make decisions based upon the fact that I could have another clot.” Vickers is always on the move, stretching often and taking walks on long flights. “I won’t just sit there for long periods of time,” he said. Except when he’s behind the wheel of the No. 55 Toyota. Vickers, coming off a runner-up finish at Daytona, is on pace to start all 36 races for the first time since 2011. He started only 11 in 2010 because of the clots, eight in 2012 and 17 last season (because of part-time schedules). But one of those starts last season was a career highlight. After four years of health scares and unemployment put his promising career in doubt, Vickers was the surprise winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He snapped a 75-race winless streak and won for third time in 271 starts. Back at New Hampshire for

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