Hammond: Drivers must seize moment

On Tuesday, Brian Vickers was announced as the full-time driver of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota with Aaron’s sponsorship for 2014. I think it’s an excellent opportunity for Brian to redeem himself and get back in the full swing of a NASCAR Sprint Cup career.

He and the No. 55 crew have been extremely good together since Michael first tapped him to run a few races a year ago. And I think that any time you see that there is the chemistry between him and crew chief Rodney Childress and that entire team, that’s something you take advantage of. Any race team does.

With what he’s been able to do in a part-time situation, you can only hope and pray it will produce twice as much, if not three times more than what it has been in the limited amount of time he’s been in it. He could easily take this No. 55 group and be a contender for a Chase position in 2014.

I think it’s a great moment in our sport when you see a guy who’s been kind of down and out start making gains back and then have that special moment where he won a race at New Hampshire. And now he gets an opportunity to really kind of put the period on this thing, on this success story, as far as the comeback and getting the full-time ride in 2014. I’m going to really enjoy watching this entire No. 55 crew in the beginning of 2014.

Brian’s a very intelligent and focused young man. I think that he has been tempered by all he has experienced, especially missing most of the 2010 season for medical reasons. I think he understands how fragile life really is. I think even more so, he understands how fragile his career can be.

We should all step back and realize that a career, no matter who it is — Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers — you never know where it’s going to come at you. You never know what the result is going to finally be, so while you’re in that moment, while you’re having that opportunity, always make the most of it.

Because if you’re not, and something goes wrong, you may not have another opportunity.