Ty Dillon plans to qualify Stewart’s car at Talladega
By AMANDA VINCENT
When Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tony Stewart’s return to the driver’s seat of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the itinerary for the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway that culminates in Sunday’s running of the Sprint Cup Series Geico 500 at the track had Stewart practicing, qualifying and starting the race in the car, with fill-in Ty Dillon climbing behind the wheel in-race and completing the event. The move would give Stewart the points earned by the car in the car, assisting his efforts to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship off-season. NASCAR rules award points earned by a car in a race to the driver starting the race in the car.
But in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday, Dillon’s rundown of the weekend was slightly different. According to Dillon, he had discussed weekend plans with Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief on the No. 14 team. Preliminary plans, according to Dillon, have both drivers sharing time behind the wheel during practice, Dillon qualifying the car, Stewart starting the race and the driver change from Stewart to Dillon coming, probably, during the first caution of the race.
“Sounds like Tony’s got to get in and made some practice laps to make it official, and then, I’ll get in and run some practice, and not sure if we’re draft or what,” Dillon said. “I’ll qualify the car, and Tony will start the race, and it sounds like he’ll run to, maybe, the first caution. But you never know with Tony; he might like his race car and want to stay out there.”
Just as Stewart would receive the points by starting the race, should Dillon win in the car, Stewart would also receive credit for the victory, furthering his efforts to get into the Chase.
Stewart plans to return to full-time competition at Kansas Speedway on May 7.