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NASCAR Notebook: Vickers released from hospital

DOVER, DEL. -- Red Bull Racing's Brian Vickers was released from the hospital Friday night and was cleared to fly from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte, the team announced Saturday morning.

DOVER, DEL. -- Red Bull Racing's Brian Vickers was released from the hospital Friday night and was cleared to fly from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte, the team announced Saturday morning.

Vickers was hospitalized Wednesday night in Washington, where he was supposed to take a tour of Congress on Thursday. He was diagnosed with having blood clots in his veins, team general manager Jay Frye said Friday.

Vickers was put on blood thinners and will miss Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Casey Mears is filling in for Vickers, whose return date has not been determined.

Vickers will meet with specialists in Charlotte, according to the news release.

SUNDAY'S RUN PERSONAL FOR MEARS

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Mears is in his second stint as a replacement driver this year, but replacing a good friend in Vickers is a little bit different than his last job, where he did little more than practice for an injured Denny Hamlin.

"It's definitely more personal for me for sure," Mears said Friday prior to Cup practice. "Brian is a good friend. I have the concerns that a friend would have of another good friend.

"When it comes to being on the track, a lot of that stuff kind of has to go out of your mind and you have to focus on your job. The best way that I can help him business-wise is to have the best result we possibly can and get (the team) further ahead in the points. But behind the scenes, it's for sure a lot more personal."

At Phoenix earlier this year, Mears filled in for Hamlin, who had undergone knee surgery, during practice sessions. With Mears on standby, Hamlin started, and completed, the race.

ROBBY GORDON STILL AFTER FUNDING

Robby Gordon still needs sponsorship in order to attempt to qualify for all the Sprint Cup races this year, and if he does find enough sponsorship, he hopes to run the entire year.

Earlier this season, the veteran owner/driver had toyed with the idea of running a monster truck as well the Indianapolis 500 while scaling back his Sprint Cup Series driving efforts, but some of those plans have not come to fruition.

Still, Gordon won't guarantee that his Robby Gordon Motorsports No. 7 car will run in every event.

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Gordon wouldn't pinpoint a specific race where he might have to stay home. He said he would not start-and-park.

Gordon does have commitments for some off-road events. During the race at Pocono in June, Gordon will miss track activity Friday and Saturday so he can run the Baja 500. Michael Waltrip will practice and qualify the car for him, Gordon said.

Gordon was penalized 25 points and fined $25,000 earlier this week for attaching a brace holding a wood block inside his right-side door panels at Darlington Raceway last week. The brace and wood block, used to help reduce the amount of damage to a car, were found during initial inspection and he never used the items on the track.

HALL RECOVERS STOLEN ARTIFACT

Officials with the NASCAR Hall of Fame said they have recovered an artifact taken from an off-site storage center last month, and the artifact is in its original condition.

A security officer for the former temporary storage facility has admitted to taking the item, Hall of Fame director Winston Kelley said earlier this week. Kelley declined to identify the artifact or the lender to protect the lender's privacy.

Hall of Fame spokesperson Kimberly Meesters said the item was recovered from the security officer and that no charges will be filed.

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