DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ty Dillon is in negotiations with Stewart-Haas Racing to replace the injured Tony Stewart after Sunday’s 58th Daytona 500, but said Tuesday nothing has been signed.
Dillon made the revelation to a group of media members at Tuesday’s NASCAR Media Day at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
“Unfortunately, it kind of stinks that we even have to talk about this down here,” said the younger brother of NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Austin Dillon. “I think everybody, including myself, want to see Tony go out the right way and run every single race.
“It would be an honor to drive Tony’s car in his last year and hopefully do good for those guys. Nothing has been announced and I haven’t signed anything yet. We’ve been in talks, obviously. Hopefully, we’ll have some news sooner or later.
“If the opportunity were to come about, I would be honored to drive the No 14 car and represent Tony in his last year.”
Dillon refuted rumors that he has already agreed to take over the ride for Stewart, who suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in a dune buggy crash in the California desert on Jan. 31.
“It’s a slow process and there are a lot of different things going on,” Dillon said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some news later on. Nothing is set in stone and I don’t like to say anything until pen hits paper.”
The 23-year-old Dillon has a five-race deal to drive the No. 95 Chevrolet with Circle Sport/Leavine Family Racing, which includes Sunday’s 58th Daytona 500.
“To be able to represent those guys and the dedication they have put in to be team owners. They have a charter now and to be locked in the race is one thing, but to be able to give them the opportunity to running well – and we have a shot at it,” Dillon said. “If you’re in the Daytona 500, you have a shot to win it.”
Dillon had hoped 2016 would be his rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series but a full-time ride did not develop. The young driver is hoping to add more races to his 2016 schedule. That would be accomplished if he can finalize a agreement to be Stewart’s replacement driver as he continues to recover from his back surgery.
“As many races as I can run – bring them on,” Dillon said. “I like to be in as many cars as possible and especially Sprint Cup, which is the highest form of auto racing. That’s where I want to be.
“Running full-time was obviously my goal and it didn’t quite work out that way. I’m going to take this opportunities to build my resume.”