Vickers back to his loves: racing and skydiving

Cleared to resume daredevil lifestyle, driver says he needs the adrenaline

By Joe Menzer, NASCAR.COM

May 31, 2011 2:28 PM, EDT

Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Toyota for Red Bull Racing, answers this week’s six questions.

1. You have had some fast cars despite
sitting 28th in points. We’re guessing you’re liking the fact that you
could still get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup via the new wild-card
rule?

Autostock

In tennis or golf, very little do things happen out of your
control. It’s not very often that you see the court move or the net fall
down in the middle of a game, or your ball gets struck by lightning in
mid-air.

— BRIAN VICKERS

Vickers: One win could easily get you
in. That’s kind of where I’m at right now. … I do actually like the
wild card. Not because of the position we’re in, but because of our
sport. And I say that in the most positive light, because I think our
sport is amazing. But because of the way the sport is. It is very easy
in our sport for things to happen that are out of our control.

In tennis or golf, very little do things happen
out of your control. It’s not very often that you see the court move or
the net fall down in the middle of a game, or your ball gets struck by
lightning in mid-air. There are very few things that can affect your
game other than you. In our sport you could lead every lap of a race and
cut a tire with one to go — and finish 35th. Theoretically, you could
do that five weeks in a row and still be 35th in points even if you’ve
led 5,000 laps. That’s the one thing about our sport that is frustrating
at times.

2. You weren’t allowed to race cars while on
blood thinners to clear up blood clots last year, and yet you went
mountain biking during that time. Didn’t you worry about something going
wrong there, too?

Vickers: It crossed my mind, and it
would have been horrible. Mountain biking [while] on blood thinner
probably wasn’t the best decision I ever made, but I just couldn’t take
it anymore. I couldn’t sit at home anymore. I had to go do something. I
was careful. Somewhat.

You just have to live life. I have no
trepidation as far as going skydiving again or any of that stuff. I went
snowboarding and skiing over the winter.

3. Speaking of skydiving, you’re going to do
exactly that this Wednesday when you drop into the infield at Daytona
International Speedway. Why?

Vickers: I’m more excited than anything
to skydive into Daytona. This was supposed to happen last season — but
since I wasn’t able to, it feels great to know I’m healthy enough to
jump this year. I’ve always wanted to skydive into a track, too.

4. What is it about skydiving that is so appealing to you?

Vickers: It’s a rush. I mean, it’s equal
to driving a race car. It’s the only thing I’ve ever found that’s close
to driving a race car. The adrenaline, the rush, the excitement.
Everything about it. It’s pretty cool. I’ve made about 35 jumps —
always solo.

5. After all you’ve been through with your
medical problems last year and now how you’ve bounced back, what message
would you like this to send to others?

Vickers: Of all the stuff I’ve done in
my life, I was sitting in Washington D.C. having lunch when I got rushed
to the hospital. I’m not saying that means I’m going to jump in front
of a train and see if I make it. But my point is that you’ve got to take
reasonable risks. … Don’t do it for the sake of just doing it. But if
you really enjoy it and love it, if it makes you happy, go do it.
Because you never know. You could miss out on everything you love
because you’re afraid of getting hurt, only to find out that’s not
what’s going to get you in the end anyway.

6. So are you going to get your current Red Bull teammate, Kasey Kahne, to jump out of an airplane?

Vickers: I just hope I can jump with
him. He just had knee surgery not long ago, so it might be a while. But
he says he wants to do it. We’ll see.

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