By AMANDA VINCENT
The No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet will race in the Sprint Unlimited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series exhibition race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Saturday night, even though regular driver and the driver who is the reason for the car being qualified for the event, Tony Stewart is sidelined by injury. Brian Vickers is expected to drive the car. An official announcement from Stewart-Haas Racing regarding a driver for the No. 14 at Daytona is expected later Friday morning.
“We have not been informed who the driver will be,” NASCAR Vice President Steve O’Donnell said on NBC Sport’s NASCAR America. “We can just confirm we will allow the 14 in the race.”
By the event qualifying criteria released by NASCAR last month, Vickers wouldn’t be eligible for the Sprint Unlimited, as that criteria called for drivers to compete full-time in 2015. As a result of medical issues, Vickers only competed in two races early in the 2015 season. But NASCAR is making the exception
Stewart was eligible for this year’s event by virtue of being a previous Sprint Unlimited winner. In addition to substitute Vickers, the race field includes 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers, race pole winners from last year, previous Sprint Unlimited winners, and previous Daytona 500 pole sitters, provided they competed full-time last season. The field will contain 25 cars, rounded out by the highest finishers in last year’s points standings not qualified by the previously listed criteria.
The now-retired Jeff Gordon also is eligible for the Sprint but Unlimited, but is not entered, because of his retirement. As a result, his former ride, the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, is not entered.
The starting grid for the Sprint Unlimited will be determined by a blind draw at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The race will take the green flag at approximately 8:15 p.m. Saturday. The race will be shown live on FOX.
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