SONOMA, Calif. — Brian Vickers capped two long days of road racing with a 13th-place finish Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
After, he got yet another ringing endorsement from Michael Waltrip.
"Oh, we want Brian Vickers to be a part of this organization going forward," the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing said. "We believe in his ability and we love him as a person."
Vickers is in his second year of splitting the No. 55 Toyota with Mark Martin and Waltrip, but the team has said repeatedly it wants a full-time driver in 2014 to run with Clint Bowyer and Sunday's race-winner, Martin Truex Jr.
Waltrip said that's still Vickers.
"He's our guy, and we're trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle put together so that he can drive the 55 and race for a championship next year just like Clint and Martin Truex Jr. are doing this year," Waltrip said. "That's our goal, and hopefully over the next few weeks or months we'll be able to say exactly how that will work."
Vickers this year had a shot to get more races in the No. 55 when Denny Hamlin was sidelined for four races with a compression fracture in his back, Joe Gibbs Racing asked if Martin could replace Hamlin, with Vickers driving that car in Martin's absence.
The deal was even announced as completed by JGR, only for MWR have to pull the plug on it a day later when sponsor Aaron's rejected the driver swap.
Now Waltrip said the team is still working with Aaron's to figure out the future of the car he wants Vickers to drive.
"We're very confident that our partners at Aaron's that have been with me since 2000 and this organization since its inception will be back with us and help us to fund that 55 car so that we can race for a championship with three cars next year," Waltrip said.