Stewart-Haas reveals Harvick's Darlington paint scheme
RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes SHOP: Harvick gear Stewart-Haas Racing unveiled Kevin Harvick 's retro paint scheme on Thursday for Darlington Raceway 's annual Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). . @KevinHarvick will pilot this No. 4 @BuschBeer Chevrolet for the #Southern500 at @TooToughToTame . #NASCARThrowback pic.twitter.com/SjwNSAHPZh — Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) April 14, 2016 Aligning with the Southern 500's 1975-1984 era throwback theme, the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS pays homage to NASCAR champion and Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough's 1979 Daytona 500 car. This particular "Great American Race" was also significant because it marked the first 500-mile event NASCAR broadcast entirely on television. Yarborough, a three-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, drove the No. 11 Busch Beer ride from 1979 through 1980, earning 10 wins, 38 top-fives and 15 poles during the two-season stretch. He also won five Southern 500 races during his decorated career -- 1968, 1973, 1974, 1978 and 1982. Harvick's scheme is one of several throwback schemes to be unveiled this week. Stewart-Haas Racing also recently revealed Danica Patrick 's retro No. 10 scheme via the team's Twitter account Wednesday. RELATED: SHR unveils Danica's Darlington look
Stewart revved up on eve of return to racing
RACE DAY LINKS: Starting lineup " Full Sunday schedule " Every paint scheme RICHMOND, Va. -- Tony Stewart was smiling, friendly and even a bit chatty talking with crew members as he left his Richmond International Raceway garage stall long after most drivers had called it a day following final practice for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The feeling he conveyed Saturday morning was unmistakable. He is happy to be back and there genuinely appears no one more excited to take this weekend's green flag. And it's a good bet he'll receive quite the ovation from the Richmond crowd when he's introduced. Stewart will start his No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet 18th on the 40-car grid -- his first start since the 2015 Sprint Cup Series finale in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway . He has spent the first eight races of the 2016 season healing from a broken back -- an injury sustained in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Jan. 31. In an interview with FOX before the race, Stewart was at ease and smiling, saying the conditions were perfect for his return -- the race is at Richmond, his favorite track, it's in the daytime and the track will get hot, leading to plenty of sliding. "I just expect to go do what I always do," Stewart said. "Just get in and do the best I can." Stewart surprised the racing world this week announcing his return to Cup competition via Twitter on Thursday. Well, the long wait is over. I'll be back in my @Mobil1 Chevy this weekend at Richmond. I can't wait to race again #SmokeWillRise — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) April 21, 2016 There has been a lot of welcoming for Stewart this weekend at Richmond. Although he is co-owner of the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing team and has been at several races in his ownership role, there was no mistaking his eagerness and energy as he returned to work as a driver. And the feeling was mutual, as NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty showed by embracing the three-time champ in the garage. Stewart didn't have any formal media sessions at Richmond, but addressed his whirlwind weekend in a tweet on Sunday morning. It's been overwhelming this weekend with friends, drivers, crew members, and officials welcoming me back as a driver. Makes me smile — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) April 24, 2016 After making his first start of 2016 here at the .75-mile track, Stewart will qualify and run opening laps next week at Talladega Superspeedway before having Ty Dillon replace him on the 2.66-mile track's high banks. In between, Stewart is scheduled to participate in a tire test at his "home" track, Indianapolis Motor Speedway , in preparation for his final Brickyard 400 on July 24. NASCAR granted Stewart a waiver, giving him an opportunity to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup if he wins a race and climbs to 30th in the points standings by the end of the Sept. 10 regular-season finale in Richmond. All the drivers within the top 30 in points with a victory automatically earn a Chase bid. If 16 drivers don't have wins, then the Chase positions go in order to those ranked highest in points among the top 30. "We are glad to have him back," Joey Logano said Friday. "The number 14 has been out there every week but Tony hasn't been in it so it is nice to have Tony back out in his final year. "I can imagine he wants to go out on a good note and it is nice to have him back in the car and be in that position where he loves to be and try to end his career on a high note." Richmond has historically been a good venue for Stewart. He has three wins here, 11 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in 33 starts. His first career Cup victory was in 1999 at Richmond.
Drivers react to Tony Stewart's return to racing
Tony Stewart announced via Twitter on Thursday that he would return to driving the No. 14 Chevrolet in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway . Stewart had been sidelined since suffering a serious back injury in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle incident. Both Brian Vickers and Ty Dillon have served as fill-in drivers for Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 14 entry this season, which will be Stewart's last before he retires. Fellow drivers welcomed "Smoke" back with open arms by saying they are eager to see him on the track for the Toyota Owners 400 (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX.) So cool @TonyStewart is back he has an awesome group of guys led by @BugaMike14 the 14 fans are gonna be very happy this year. #getemsmoke — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) April 21, 2016 Just awesome to see the news @TonyStewart is back this weekend! Smoke!!!! — AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) April 21, 2016 https://t.co/4MWoV4vasi — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) April 21, 2016 Welcome back! @TonyStewart — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) April 21, 2016 Wow!!! @TonyStewart just broke Twitter! Glad to have you back racing ! Wasn't the same watching without ya. — Justin Allgaier (@J_Allgaier) April 21, 2016 Welcome back Smoke. Looking forward to racing with you @TonyStewart — Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) April 21, 2016 Heck yea @TonyStewart is back!!! — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) April 21, 2016 Jeff Gordon , who retired after the 2015 season and was with Stewart on the excursion in the sand dunes near the California-Arizona border, was among those welcoming Stewart back on Twitter. Welcome back @TonyStewart ! Great news! Everyone is excited to have you back this weekend @NASCARONFOX & @RIRInsider ! — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) April 21, 2016 Stewart plans to qualify the No. 14 at Talladega but use a relief driver for the GEICO 500 on May 1 because of the high risk of a wreck at the superspeedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., however, doesn't see such a fierce competitor stepping out of his car. I say once he's in the car at Dega he doesn't get out. https://t.co/xLS8KA068c — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) April 21, 2016
A tutu for Tony: See 'Smoke' as the Tooth Fairy
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- While Tony Stewart may be hanging up the fire suit at the end of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, he's got a new addition to his wardrobe -- a pink tutu. During a joint Friday press conference at Talladega Superspeedway , Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick invited her teammate and team co-owner Stewart to join the "Tooth Fairy Squad," a tie-in with her sponsor, Aspen Dental. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion begrudgingly accepted. And then the outfit came out. . @TonyStewart accepts @DanicaPatrick 's invitation to join @AspenDental 's "Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad." #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/YmxLNSSiNe — Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) April 29, 2016 A pink tutu, a sprightly wand and a grizzled, bearded veteran rocking them like the champ that he is. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen Stewart wearing questionable-at-best attire. RELATED: Stewart debuts new 'drag' package
Aspen Dental to sponsor annual dirt track race at Eldora
Eldora Speedway announced Friday that Aspen Dental will sponsor the Ohio dirt track's annual race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The fourth annual 150-lap race, the only NASCAR national series event on a dirt speedway, is scheduled July 20 (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The track discontinued the Mudsummer Classic name in the offseason because of a conflict with Major League Baseball's "Midsummer Classic" name for its annual All-Star Game. NASCAR returned to dirt-track racing with the inaugural truck event at Eldora in 2013, marking the first national series race on dirt since 1970. Friday's announcement coincided with a media event at Talladega Superspeedway featuring Danica Patrick -- who drives the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet with Aspen Dental sponsorship -- and Tony Stewart , who purchased the Eldora track in 2004. Aspen Dental is in the midst of a five-year partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing . The East Syracuse, New York-based business increased its backing of Patrick's efforts this season, doubling its role as primary sponsor to four NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2016.
Ty Dillon subs for Stewart, salvages sixth at Talladega
RELATED: Talladega results Ty Dillon subbed in for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart on Sunday, taking over the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet and driving it to a sixth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway . The team made the driver switch in the 52nd of a scheduled 188 laps in Sunday's GEICO 500 . The swap went according to plan, with Dillon intending to fill in during the first caution period as Stewart eases back to full-time competition after suffering a broken back in an offseason all-terrain vehicle accident. From there, Dillon managed to avoid the four multicar crashes that followed, including one that punctuated the event at the checkered flag. The result earned Stewart 35 valuable championship points as he tries to position himself for a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. "All in all I'm so glad I got a good finish for Tony," Dillon said post-race. "I know this team is so strong they're going to win a race and get in the top 30. Just glad I got to be a part of what they're going to do this year." RELATED: Ty and Tony make the switch, frame-by-frame After a pit-road speeding penalty during the first round of green-flag pit stops, Stewart was running a lap down at the time of the first caution period, triggered by a three-car crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kasey Kahne and Matt DiBenedetto . Stewart was the beneficiary of the yellow flag, putting him back on the lead lap. After regaining his lost lap, Stewart pitted separately of the main pack and Dillon resumed near the tail end of the field in 33rd place. "I think it went well; it might have been a little bit slower … but we were being patient, methodical," Dillon said of the driver swap, a change-over the team rehearsed during Friday practice. "I had my belts tight and everything was really smooth. We just made sure everything was perfect. We knew we had ample amount of time and it went well." Stewart told FOX Sports' Jamie Little after exiting the car that "it sucks" to turn over the wheel, but that he understood the reasoning. He plans to return full-time next weekend at Kansas Speedway . "If I wouldn't have broken my back in the end of January, we wouldn't have been in this situation," Stewart said. "The good news is it's the last time I've got to do it and then I'm back in the next week. Really appreciate Ty. I mean, he's been a rock star through this whole thing and especially this weekend. He's done all the heavy lifting and I just go riding around for 50 laps and turn it over to him." WATCH: Stewart talks about getting out of the car Multiple chaotic wrecks ensued in the laps that followed the driver change, further justifying Stewart's decision. Dillon, a NASCAR XFINITY Series regular with 12 Sprint Cup starts, managed to keep the SHR entry free of major involvement the rest of the way. "I don't know how I missed them, really," Dillon said. "(Spotter) Bob Jeffrey on top of the roof did a great job navigating me through. Just missed them by a narrow margin but we missed them. That was all that mattered." Dillon drove the No. 14 in Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying to the 14th starting spot. Stewart started Sunday's 500-miler, dropping to the rear of the 40-car field before the green flag because of the driver change. "Guys, I know this isn't the optimal situation, but we have a kid who's done a great job for us," Stewart told his team over the radio during pace laps. "He'll do another great job today." As the driver of record at the initial start, Stewart was credited with the finish and points. The two-driver effort moved Stewart up two spots to 38th in the Sprint Cup driver standings, 71 points behind 30th-place DiBenedetto. Under the terms of the medical eligibility waiver granted by NASCAR upon his return, Stewart must win a race and finish among the top 30 in driver standings to qualify for a Chase berth. Dillon made three starts for SHR this season in place of Stewart, dividing driving duties with Brian Vickers in the eight races Stewart was sidelined. Contributing: Kenny Bruce
Logano leads final practice, No. 14 team practices switch
Practice 2: Full results Joey Logano launched to the fastest speed in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway . Logano, winner of the series' most recent race here last October, posted a best lap of 196.290 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. He was just .013 seconds ahead of Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Blaney , second-fastest at 196.238 mph in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford. Fellow rookie Chase Elliott was third-fastest at 196.185 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. Danica Patrick (195.094 mph) and rookie Brian Scott completed the top five in the final 55-minute prep for Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Few drivers participated in large packs, with most spending time concentrating on single-car runs to prepare for Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying (12:30 p.m. ET, FOX). But with inclement weather in Saturday's forecast, several drivers attempted to better their position in the practice order should qualifying be washed out. Among those was Blaney, one of five drivers attempting to qualify for the four starting berths reserved for open, non-chartered teams. He received aerodynamic help from Logano, whose Penske team shares an alliance with the Wood Brothers, a fellow Ford operation. Ty Dillon , on standby for Tony Stewart in his second race back from a back injury, was 16th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet. The team spent the majority of the session practicing in the garage for a quick driver change, something the team plans to do midstream in Sunday's 500-miler as Stewart eases his way back from his injuries. Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . was seventh-fastest at 193.584 mph around the 2.66-mile track. Practice 1: Full results Two-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Jamie McMurray topped opening practice. The wheelman of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet posted a fastest lap of 199.737 mph. Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest during the 55-minute session, propelling the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile track at 199.729 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing 's Kurt Busch rounded out the top three with his No. 41 coming in at 199.409 mph. Busch's teammate Danica Patrick was next in her No. 10 Chevrolet (199.384 mph) while the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne earned the fifth-quickest lap (199.317 mph). The back-to-back race winner of 2016, Carl Edwards was 23rd (196.552 mph) in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Tony Stewart and Ty Dillon took turns wheeling the No. 14 throughout practice and earned 29th (195.884 mph). Dillon will fill in as a relief driver for "Smoke" during qualifying and the 500-mile event. Six-time Talladega winner, and defending race champ, Dale Earnhardt Jr . finished practice 32nd (195.150 mph).
Ty Dillon ready to relieve Tony Stewart at Talladega
MORE: How qualifying works at 'Dega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Double duty continues this weekend for Ty Dillon as the Richard Childress Racing driver competes in Saturday's XFINITY Series race and is expected to take over the No. 14 of Tony Stewart at some point in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event. There's still a bit of newness to the 2016 season but Dillon, 24, has already made 13 starts between the two series. In addition to his full-time role with RCR, he's made three starts in place of Stewart as well as two for Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . "I was hoping to maybe be full-time this year in the Sprint Cup Series about this time last year," Dillon said Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway , site of Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "That is where I kind of had my goals set, my eyes set, but the opportunity didn't come along. "I can't thank Stewart-Haas ( Racing ) … enough for giving me the opportunity to fill in this year with Tony being out. Not only has it helped me with my career and getting better as a race car driver, but it's helped me show people that I can get the job done in other equipment too." Stewart, a three-time premier series champion, missed the first eight races after suffering a back injury in the offseason. He made his first start last weekend at Richmond International Raceway . RELATED: Stewart: Full coverage of injury, comeback Dillon split time with fellow driver Brian Vickers in the car during Stewart's absence. With the potential for multi-car accidents much higher at Talladega, Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing officials made the call to have Stewart start this week's race and then turn the ride over to Dillon. Dillon is also scheduled to qualify the car on Saturday. Because of his extensive time in the car, the interior will be fitted to address his needs. RELATED: Ty to qualify for Tony at Talladega "I haven’t talked to Tony yet, but I talked with Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) and the guys," Dillon said of the interior work. "They said it's just a quarter-inch difference and the belt set is all that we are playing with. So, we've got adjustable belts to make up for that really quickly. "We have had to make a couple of changes to kind of compensate for a little bit of both, but mostly everything in there is built for me and for my comfort, because I will be in it for the longer part of the race." By starting the race, Stewart will be awarded the points earned as a result of Dillon's finishing position. In addition, NASCAR officials said that should Dillon win Sunday's race, it would be counted as a win toward Stewart's Chase eligibility. Stewart would also have to be among the top 30 in points. He currently trails Matt DiBenedetto , in 30th, by 101 points. RELATED: How Stewart will be scored at 'Dega "First of all it would mean I won a Sprint Cup race and I would be pretty excited," Dillon said. "On top of that, to be able to get Tony a step closer to being locked into the Chase would be really cool. … "I haven't started a race without the goal of winning my entire career. That is what my focus is. As soon as I get strapped into that race car I'm planning on going to the front and hopefully winning the race. If it all comes together and we do win the race, I'm sure it will be a heck of a party and everybody is going to be happy." Stewart, who will retire from Sprint Cup competition at season's end, said he was appreciative of the opportunity to contend for a spot in the 10-race Chase, but said he "wouldn’t feel good about" earning a berth based on a win by another driver. "I think for me to make the Chase it needs to be because I ran the whole race and won the race, not started it and somebody else won it for me."
Stewart preps for relief driver switch at Talladega
RELATED: Weekend schedule " Dillon ready for action TALLADEGA, Ala. -- A week after returning to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, Tony Stewart becomes a start-and-park driver. In a manner of speaking. Start-and-watch might be more appropriate. The three-time premier series champion missed the season's first eight points races after suffering a back injury during the offseason. RELATED: Full timeline of Stewart's injury, comeback Stewart is scheduled to start his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway before turning over the wheel to XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon . It's an infrequent turn of events, but something that does happen from time to time in NASCAR. Last season, Erik Jones stepped in for Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway after the Joe Gibbs Racing driver developed a neck spasm during a rain delay. Jones finished 26th. Hamlin was also involved in a driver swap at Talladega in 2013. Injured in an accident at Auto Club Speedway , Hamlin started the Aaron's 499 but eventually gave up the seat to Brian Vickers . J.J. Yeley replaced Bill Elliott during a race here in 2011; he also replaced Stewart in '08 during the summer race at Daytona. Stewart, speaking to the media Friday at Talladega, said he expects to do "what I always do around here at the beginning of the race … just ride around in the back until we get to the first caution." It won't be "glamorous," he said, but it meets his doctors' request. Well, almost. According to Stewart, his doctors didn't want him competing at all this weekend. "We need the points and so we talked them into letting us to at least start the race," said Stewart, who sits 101 points out of 30th. MORE: Standings pre-Talladega "I told them it normally doesn't go more than two or three laps at the beginning of the race before a caution. It might go 82 or 83 laps, who knows? But, we'll run until it gets there." Unofficially, the last time a relief driver won a NASCAR premier series race was 1977, and it occurred at Talladega as well. Donnie Allison started what was then a July race but eventually turned the driving over to Darrell Waltrip due to illness. Waltrip replaced Allison with 23 laps remaining and took the lead with six to go when race leader Skip Manning's car suffered mechanical problems. According to NASCAR rules, points earned by an entry are awarded to the driver starting the race, meaning Stewart will be credited with those earned Sunday by Dillon.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 10 of the 2016 season at Talladega Superspeedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 351 0 -- 2 1 10 2 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 342 -9 -9 4 2 10 3 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 337 -14 -5 1 -2 10 4 Hendrick Motorsports 48 329 -22 -8 3 -1 10 5 Team Penske 22 316 -35 -13 5 0 10 6 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 312 -39 -4 6 0 10 7 Team Penske 2 300 -51 -12 9 2 10 8 Hendrick Motorsports 88 279 -72 -21 7 -1 10 9 Furniture Row Racing 78 274 -77 -5 10 1 10 10 Richard Childress Racing 3 272 -79 -2 12 2 10 11 Hendrick Motorsports 24 271 -80 -1 11 0 10 12 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 269 -82 -2 8 -4 10 13 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 261 -90 -8 13 0 10 14 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 232 -119 -29 17 3 10 15 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 231 -120 -1 15 0 10 16 Roush Fenway Racing 6 228 -123 -3 18 2 10 17 Hendrick Motorsports 5 224 -127 -4 14 -3 10 18 Wood Brothers Racing 21 219 -132 -5 20 2 10 19 Richard Childress Racing 31 219 -132 0 16 -3 10 20 Roush Fenway Racing 17 218 -133 -1 19 -1 10 21 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 209 -142 -9 23 2 10 22 Richard Childress Racing 27 201 -150 -8 21 -1 10 23 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 197 -154 -4 22 -1 10 24 Roush Fenway Racing 16 188 -163 -9 24 0 10 25 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 180 -171 -8 25 0 10 26 Front Row Motorsports 38 170 -181 -10 28 2 10 27 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 166 -185 -4 26 -1 10 28 HScott Motorsports 15 160 -191 -6 31 3 10 29 Germain Racing 13 149 -202 -11 27 -2 10 30 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 142 -209 -7 30 0 10 31 BK Racing 83 139 -212 -3 29 -2 10 32 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 131 -220 -8 34 2 10 33 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 127 -224 -4 32 -1 10 34 BK Racing 23 124 -227 -3 33 -1 10 35 Front Row Motorsports 34 101 -250 -23 35 0 10 36 HScott Motorsports 46 90 -261 -11 36 0 10 37 Premium Motorsports 98 86 -265 -4 37 0 10 38 GO FAS Racing 32 84 -267 -2 38 0 10 39 Premium Motorsports 55 41 -310 -43 41 2 5 40 The Motorsports Group 30 34 -317 -7 39 -1 10 41 Circle Sport - Leavine Family 59 26 -325 -8 40 -1 1 42 Front Row Motorsports 35 24 -327 -2 44 2 2 43 BK Racing 93 5 -346 -19 42 -1 2 44 BK Racing 26 3 -348 -2 43 -1 1 45 Hillman Racing 40 0 -351 -3 45 0 1