Brian Vickers is already locked into the No. 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing to start the season in the Daytona 500 with Tony Stewart recovering from a back injury. But the plans moving forward have been a little foggy, with Ty Dillon’s name mentioned as a possible replacement.
On Tuesday at the Daytona 500 Media Day, Dillon discussed his plans after the season opener.
“For my name to be thrown out there pretty soon and pretty quick was an honor for me, especially to fill in in such a legendary seat,” Dillon said. “It’s Tony Stewart’s ride — a guy that I looked up to as a kid and watching. He’s a dirt-race hero and I’m a dirt-race guy. For Stewart-Haas Racing to have interest in me to begin with is an honor.
“If we get everything done and I’m in the car at Atlanta, it would be great. But I’m not going to jump the gun and say it’s a done deal. It would be an honor to me is all I will say.”
Dillon is already guaranteed a ride in the Daytona 500 on Sunday with the No. 95 machine from Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. During his career at the Sprint Cup level, Dillon has seven starts with two top-20 finishes at Pocono and Michigan last season.
Thanks to his ties with Bass Pro Shops over the years at the Xfinity level, Dillon makes sense behind the wheel of the No. 14 for select races.
Meanwhile, Stewart is hoping to return in May, but no concrete news on his condition has been released since the initial announcement. Dillon has been in talks with SHR, but said he hates it had to come during Smoke’s final season.
“Obviously that’s something that’s been talked about a lot,” Dillon said. “Nothing has been finalized. Unfortunately, it kind of stinks that we’re even talking about that this year.”