Ty Dillon says it would be an “honor” to drive Tony Stewart’s car

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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Ty Dillon says he has not signed a contract but admitted to having talks with Stewart-Haas Racing to drive select races for Tony Stewart this season.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some news soon,” Dillon said Tuesday at NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. “There’s been lots of conversation.”

Stewart-Haas Racing needs a driver after Stewart suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an ATV accident Jan. 31. No timetable has been set for his return. Brian Vickers drove Stewart’s car in last weekend’s Sprint Unlimited and will drive it in the Daytona 500. The team is not expected to announce who will drive next until after the Daytona 500.

NBC Sports has learned that Dillon is expected to drive for Stewart in the Feb. 28 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the March 13 race at Phoenix International Raceway, the March 20 race at Auto Club Speedway and the May 1 race at Talladega Superspeedway. Bass Pro Shops is either a primary sponsor or co-primary sponsor for each of those races and has backed Dillon for years.

“For my name to be thrown out there and 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. For Stewart-Haas Racing to have interest to begin with is an honor. If we get everything done and I’m in the car at Atlanta, it would be great. I’m not going to jump the gun and say it’s a done deal.”

Dillon, who is also racing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, would follow his brother in serving as a substitute driver for Stewart. Austin Dillon drove two races for Stewart in 2013 when Stewart was out after breaking his leg in a sprint car crash in Iowa.

Ty Dillon will start Sunday’s Daytona 500 for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. He’s next scheduled to drive for the team at Texas in April. He’s scheduled to run six races for the team this season: Daytona, Texas, Michigan in June, Kentucky in July, Dover in October and Miami in November.