Ty Dillon likely to be in Tony Stewart’s car for three of next four Sprint Cup races

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ty Dillon is expected to drive the No. 14 car for Tony Stewart at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, a source with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to comment told NBC Sports.

Nothing has been finalized. Stewart-Haas Racing is not expected to announce who will drive the car at Atlanta until the Wednesday after the Daytona 500.

In an interview Friday with NBC Sports, SHR executive vice president Brett Frood said the situation is “fluid” but indicated the team “thinks highly” of Dillon, who has strong ties to Bass Pro Shops, also a sponsor of Stewart and SHR.

Brian Vickers drove the car in Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited and will drive it in the Daytona 500, as Stewart continues to recover from a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra he suffered in an ATV accident Jan. 31. No timetable has been given for Stewart’s return.

Dillon is expected to drive the races with Bass Pro sponsorship of the No. 14 car. Bass Pro, which has backed Dillon for years, is scheduled to be a co-primary sponsor with Mobil 1 for the Feb. 28 race at Atlanta, the March 13 race at Phoenix and the March 20 race at Auto Club Speedway. Bass Pro is scheduled to be the car’s primary sponsor for the May 1 race at Talladega.

Dillon will race in the Daytona 500 for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. He’s sharing that ride this season with Michael McDowell. Dillon, though, is scheduled for five races this season. His next start for that team is expected to be April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dillon, who turns 24 on Feb. 27, is entering his third season in the Xfinity Series. He finished third in the points last season. He has one career series win. That came at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014 with Bass Pro as sponsor. Dillon has seven career Sprint Cup starts.

Also, a candidate to drive Stewart’s car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is Brendan Gaughan, a Las Vegas native, whose family owned South Point Hotel and Casino backs him. Vickers also is a candidate to drive the car in other races.