- Did you mean:
NASCAR : Tony Stewart granted Chase waiver
RELATED: Full Stewart coverage Tony Stewart , who will return to the track this weekend at Richmond International Raceway after missing the first eight races of the season, has been granted a waiver making him eligible to qualify for the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , according to NASCAR . " NASCAR received the appropriate medical clearance documentation allowing Tony Stewart to resume normal racing activities," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell. "We also have granted the request from Stewart-Haas Racing for a waiver for Tony to be eligible to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . As he begins his final season, we wish Tony the best of luck." Because he did not attempt to qualify for every race, Stewart would not have been eligible for the 2016 postseason without the waiver. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver and co-owner is now in the same position as Kyle Busch in 2015. The clearest path to the postseason, as Busch proved last year, is for Stewart to win one race before the regular season ends at Richmond in the fall, and climb into the top 30 in the points standings. "Smoke" injured his back in an all-terrain vehicle accident in late January, and has been sidelined since. He's been prevalent at the track, though, as drivers Ty Dillon and Brian Vickers have filled his seat.
Amelia flies again: No. 88 car restored for 'Dega
Amelia is back. The No. 88 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., a car so good on superspeedway tracks that it earned its own name, has apparently been restored from a Daytona 500 wreck. According to team crew chief Greg Ives, she'll be back on the track this weekend. For all those asking, it is time. Amelia will be making her return to the track this weekend. @TeamHendrick did a great job fixing her up. — Greg Ives (@Ives_Greg) April 25, 2016 Amelia -- formally known as Chassis No. 88-872 -- has been Earnhardt Jr.'s primary car for the past five races at Daytona and Talladega. In 2015, Earnhardt Jr. won twice in four restrictor-plate events, with one win at Daytona and one at Talladega. He finished third ( Daytona 500 ) and second in the fall Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega. In the 2016 Daytona 500 , Earnhardt Jr. was charging toward the front of the field when his car whipped around on him and smashed the inside barrier, crumpling sheet metal and denting the frame. He would finish 36th in the race. “We're going to have Amelia ... I’m excited about that," Earnhardt said in this week's " The Dale Jr. Download" on Dirty Mo Radio. "We know how she ran last year. We've just got to run Talladega like we have to win it, just like we did the last time we were there. We did a good job. "If we run it like that, we'll be up front at the end." WATCH: Daytona wreck cripples car Amelia, named after Amelia Earhart, became something of a Junior Nation sensation when Dale Jr. revealed he had named the car. "A car gets named when you drive it long enough to see a personality, typically," Earnhardt said earlier in 2016. "… The fact that we're going to keep running it, I said, 'We gotta name it' and we were thinking of a woman who has accomplished something that was an awesome person that was something we could be proud of. "Amelia Earhart was the first thing that came to my mind."
Chase Elliott to start Texas race from rear of field
RELATED: Full starting lineup Chase Elliott 's No. 24 Chevrolet will move to the rear of the field for Saturday night's Duck Commander 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) due to a transmission change, NASCAR .com has learned. Elliott had qualified his Hendrick Motorsports machine fourth Friday at Texas Motor Speedway , but will now start on the back row. A contender for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, Elliott has three top-10 finishes in six starts this season. He's currently 16th in the points standings and the final driver in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid.
Rule reminder: How Stewart will be scored at Talladega
RELATED: Stewart eager for more " See current Chase Grid When he announced his return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, Stewart-Haas Racing driver and co-owner Tony Stewart said he would qualify his No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and start Sunday's race, but ultimately give his seat to standby driver Ty Dillon at some point during the GEICO 500 (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). However, Dillon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday that he would qualify the car and that both he and Stewart would practice the car on Friday. Stewart's first race since injuring his back in an offseason all-terrain vehicle accident came last Sunday at Richmond, and Talladega -- a 2.66-mile track where peril exists in every moment -- was enough of a risk for doctors to ask Stewart to step out of the seat at some point Sunday. "Smoke" has been granted a waiver that makes him eligible to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He initially was ineligible due to not meeting the requirement of attempting to start every race. Now, he can attempt to qualify for the postseason -- the most simple road into the Chase is to win one of the remaining regular-season races and climb into the top 30 in the points standings. All of which leads to these questions: Does Tony Stewart earn points at Talladega? What would happen if Ty Dillon won? The answer from NASCAR : If Stewart begins the race, he is the driver of record. The points accrued from whatever place Dillon finishes go into the standings under Stewart's name. If Dillon finishes the race in the No. 14 and winds up in Victory Lane, it will go down as a victory for Stewart and would count toward his Chase eligibility.
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup explained
Got questions about the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format? This brief video will get you up to speed.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Facts & FAQs
Round-by-Round and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid explanations
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 101
Take a look back at how the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup began.
Chase Elliott gears up for Sprint Cup rookie season
RELATED: Complete driver tracker for 2016 season Had it not been for a phone call from James Finch, Chase Elliott might not be making his Sprint Cup debut as a fulltime driver in the No. 24 Chevrolet of four-time champion and recently retired-from-driving Jeff Gordon in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series this season because it was Finch, the former team owner, who brought Elliott, son of 1988 series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bill Elliott , to the attention of one Rick Hendrick. Or, as Hendrick stated simply: "My talent scout alerted me." Hendrick and Finch are long-time pals, and Phoenix Racing, the one-time Finch-owned NASCAR organization, purchased its chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports . The business side of the relationship continued after Finch sold the team to Harry Scott; Phoenix Racing became HScott Motorsports and Finch became a "former owner." But back to Elliott … "He (Finch) called me and said 'Have you seen this Elliott kid drive?" Hendrick said. "I said, 'He's not old enough.' "James said, 'He's racing; he's 14 and racing these guys like Kyle (Busch).' "Then when I met ( Chase ) and talked to him, I was just super impressed." That was six years ago and Hendrick, who has won premier series championships with three different drivers, was impressed enough to revive a dormant development program and support a youngster who had neither a driver's license nor a shaving kit but apparently could drive the wheels off a Late Model car. "I said I wasn't ever going to do that again," Hendrick said of the undertaking. " The last time I had a driver development program, I had like three (drivers) and we put on 51 clips in a season. I said 'that's enough for me.'" WATCH: Hendrick team previews 2016 season Officials within the Hendrick organization questioned the move. They reminded Hendrick of his prior decision and the rising tide of costs that resulted from the previous effort. But the boss wouldn't be swayed. "I'm glad I made the investment," Hendrick said. "When he got in that ( XFINITY ) car and started outrunning everybody, then they were taking the credit and I said, 'wait, you are the same guys that said I was stupid for doing it.'" The XFINITY entry was fielded by JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Kelley Earnhardt Miller. What to know about HMS: Drivers for the organization have won 11 premier series championships and a staggering 240 races. Gordon's departure from the driver’s seat opened the door for Elliott, who will join teammates Jimmie Johnson , Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne this season. It’s the first driver change at HMS since 2012 when Kahne joined the organization, replacing veteran Mark Martin in the No. 5 Chevrolet. RELATED: See some of the new looks for 2016 For Elliott, the comparisons to Gordon are inevitable. Hendrick said he believes Elliott is as good now as Gordon was when he joined HMS in late 1992. "I've never seen a young guy mature as quickly as he has and handle pressure the way he has," Hendrick said. " The raw talent; he's special, that's all I can say. Jeff wrecked a lot of cars his first year. But Jeff was fast, unbelievably fast." What to know about Elliott: He's 20, and not only has a driver's license but a pilot's license as well. At JRM, he won the 2014 XFINITY Series championship and finished second last season. His father won 44 premier series races in addition to the '88 crown. RELATED: Elliott soars to new heights -- literally While he is appreciative of his team owner's confidence, the younger Elliott stiff-arms the notion that he’s as good now as Gordon was then. "I think Jeff was light years ahead of most everybody at 20, 25," he said. "I'm going to let the boss say that … but I disagree." He understands the challenges ahead – a longer season and longer races, incredibly talented competition on the track mixed with more obligations outside the car. Daunting? Yes. Overwhelming? No. Elliott has enjoyed success in each series as his career progressed, the various stops helping to shape his driving style as he honed his talents. The journey also taught him perspective. "No matter what's happened in the past or how things have gone for you, that's no guarantee that things are going to be good for you moving forward," Elliott said. "I expect a lot of challenges." He got a taste of those challenges last season, making five starts for Hendrick Motorsports while continuing to compete full time in the XFINITY Series. The starts came at Martinsville (in March), Richmond (in April), Charlotte (in May), Indianapolis (in July) and Darlington (in September). Elliott finished 16th at Richmond, and inside the top 20 at Charlotte (18th) and Indy (18th) as well. "They definitely didn't go as well as I would have wanted them to," he said. "We had our struggles and I'll be the first one to take the blame for all of them. I made a lot of mistakes, they were just dumb and (ones) I shouldn't have made, that I should know better as this point than to do." H2H: Who will take home Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2016? Elliott will be paired with crew chief Alan Gustafson, who helped guide Gordon to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup last season. Gustafson's been around the block a few times, having won with Kyle Busch , Martin and Gordon while at HMS. Hendrick expects Elliott to be "one of the flag bearers for the sport" within the next decade. "That Elliott name, his status with the fans – he's already popular – his talent and the way he handles himself," he said. "How do you get to be 18, go out and win a championship and not get cocky, not get smart or just get your head bigger than it ought to be? That showed me a lot. "He came back after winning ( the XFINITY title) as humble or more humble than he was, but confident. That's pretty special." Humility seems to be a trait rather than an option. If Elliott is sometimes too quick to shoulder all the blame for miscues, mishaps and less-than-expected results, he's been just as quick to praise those around him for his success and his continued progression. "Growing up I've had such good people around me, whether it was go-kart days, short-track Late Model racing days, to the XFINITY side and being amongst this great organization and great team," he said. "I couldn't have asked for better people since day one. "I think that's the biggest thing. All those people deserve the credit, because without all of them I wouldn't be where I'm at today. I think a lot of them have made me look a lot better than I am over the years. I'm just very fortunate to have this chance."
From the Vault: Tony tackles Texas
After not making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2006, Tony Stewart went on to win the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup explained
As the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup turns 10, get the history, format and more