Sponsor ties make Ty Dillon a candidate to drive for Tony Stewart after Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – While it’s unclear who will be in Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet beyond the Daytona 500, Ty Dillon is a top choice because of youth, talent and cash.

In Bass Pro Shops, Dillon, who will race full time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the third consecutive season, shares a sponsor with Stewart (as well as a manufacturer in Chevrolet).

And while Stewart-Haas Racing hasn’t determined the race sponsor lineup for Stewart’s car, indications are that serious consideration for the Bass Pro Shops races would go to Dillon, who had the company on his car in 11 races last season.

“I think Ty is one of the potential (candidates),” Stewart-Haas Racing vice president Brett Frood told NBC Sports in a Friday morning interview at Daytona International Speedway. “We think highly of him, and he’s certainly a young driver that everyone has their eyes on.

“His pedigree has shown to be a really good driver. Bass Pro has the relationship with him. There’s definitely a synergy and certainly a direction we could go.”

Richard Childress Racing’s Dillon, 24, has one win in 78 Xfinity Series starts, taking the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops-sponsored car to victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014.

Frood said it wasn’t certain how many times the No. 14’s main paint scheme will be Bass Pro Shops, which has been a primary sponsor of Stewart since 2013. The three-time series champion’s sponsor lineup still was being determined before he fractured his back in an ATV accident two weeks ago.

Brian Vickers was announced Friday morning as the replacement for Stewart, who is sidelined indefinitely – making it more difficult to determine how to align his return with sponsors such as Bass Pro.

“We’re still working with (Bass Pro), obviously, with Tony not being in the car,” Frood said. “They’ve been a longtime partner of Tony, and (he) is an important part of their brand and what they’ve done over the years.

“We’re speaking to them currently now and how that’s going to work as the year progresses and who they want in the car and how many races.”

While Vickers will drive for the next nine days through Speedweeks, another driver could be in place the following week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Bass Pro Shops has been a Sprint Cup race title sponsor and also sponsored Stewart last year.

“It’s a fairly fluid situation as you can imagine,” Frood said. “We’ve got a lot of partners and different constituents that are important to us. We want to understand how they see it and really understand that balance between the performance and the business standpoint.

“I don’t think it’ll necessarily be Brian’s last race with us, but there could be multiple drivers in the car. We’ll get there. We’re kind of taking one day at a time right now.”

Frood said SHR and its sponsors still expect to win with the No. 14 “regardless if Tony’s in the car. There’s plenty to balance. Ultimately it’s our partners, our employees and then ultimately performance.”

The team is accustomed to scrambling for replacement drivers with Stewart having missed 18 races over the 2013-14 seasons and Kurt Busch out for three races last year.

“I don’t know if it gets any easier, but I feel like we’re more prepared than we were the first time,” Frood said. “We’ve got a resilient bunch. Guys can circle the wagons and move mountains pretty quickly now.

“It’s not easy not having Tony in the car. There’s nothing easy about it. This is a three-time champion. He’s the heart and soul of this organization with (co-owner) Gene Haas. It’s tough and it’s challenging. That being said, we’ve got a hard-working core here that have been with us for a long time (and) well-prepared. We’re ready to go race regardless of who’s in the car, and we feel good about our prospects going into the year and the season.”

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.