Mark Martin to drive No. 14 Chevrolet at Bristol and 11 other races; Austin Dillon to drive No. 14 Chevrolet at Talladega
KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (Aug. 19, 2013) – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart is out for the remainder of the 2013 season after suffering a broken right tibia and fibula in a sprint car crash Aug. 5 at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, is expected to return to the seat of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in time for pre-season testing in January 2014.
In the interim, Mark Martin will drive the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Aug. 23-24 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and in 11 other races. Austin Dillon, the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion who filled in for Stewart this past weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and finished 14th in his 10th career Sprint Cup start, will drive the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Oct. 18-20 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Martin is a NASCAR veteran with 40 wins, 56 poles, 271 top-fives, 452 top-10s and 12,879 laps led in 870 career Sprint Cup starts. Dillon has five Camping World Truck Series wins to go along with his 2011 title and is a two-time winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he is fourth in the championship standings, only 15 points out of first.
“After consulting with Tony’s doctors and speaking with Tony, we agreed it was best for him to focus on his recovery,” said Greg Zipadelli, competition director, SHR. “For the No. 14 team, our focus is on positioning them for a run at the owner championship. Mark Martin and Austin Dillon give us the best opportunity to do that, and we certainly appreciate Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing for making Mark and Austin available to us.”
In the 11 races where Martin will compete for SHR, he has 21 collective victories at those tracks (Bristol – 2; Atlanta – 2; Richmond – 1; Chicagoland – 1; New Hampshire – 1; Dover – 4; Kansas – 1; Charlotte – 4; Martinsville – 2; Texas – 1; Phoenix – 2). At Bristol, Martin has a series-best nine poles, 16 top-fives, 23 top-10s and 1,200 laps led in 46 Sprint Cup starts.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be out of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy for so long, but the team is in very good hands with Mark Martin and Austin Dillon,” Stewart said. “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Austin is a great young talent, and he showed that Sunday at Michigan. Greg Zipadelli, Steve Addington (crew chief) and everybody at SHR supports them 100 percent. This isn’t a situation anyone wanted, but we’re going to make the best of it. In the meantime, my focus is on getting healthy and getting back into my Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy.”
The No. 14 team is 13th in points, 10 out of the top-10 and 160 behind the series-leading No. 48 team of Hendrick Motorsports. The No. 14 team is first in line to grab one of the two wild-card positions for the 12-team Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only three races remain before the cutoff for the 10-race Chase. Following the Sept. 7 race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, the owner standings will be reset, with each team getting 2,000 points. With the exception of wild-card entrants (11th- and 12th-place teams), teams also receive three bonus points for each of their respective wins during the 26-race regular season. For teams starting the Chase with identical point totals, their seed is determined by the traditional tiebreaker of best finishes beyond race victories.