The highest profile seat in racing’s game of musical chairs is that of the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy SS which will be occupied by 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion Austin Dillon – at least for this week’s Pure 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. With regular driver/team owner Tony Stewart still on the mend from his Sprint Car accident, Stewart-Haas personnel are noticeably reluctant to discuss Dillon’s role with the team beyond Sunday’s checkered flag. In other words, watch this space . . .
That’s not the case with Michael Waltrip Racing, which today announced Brian Vickers will drive its #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry in the full slate of Sprint Cup races in 2014, doing away with the ride-sharing deal that saw Vickers split time behind the wheel with Mark Martin.
In the IZOD IndyCar Series, meanwhile, Bryan Herta Autosport have signed Luca Filippi and JR Hildebrand to complete the remainder of the 2013 season in Team Barracuda’s Dallara-Honda, replacing Alex Tagliani who “stood–down” from the seat midway through a disappointing season. GP2 veteran Filippi replaced Tagliani at Mid-Ohio and will be back in the car for the Baltimore and Houston street races, while Hildebrand – who was stood-down by Panther Racing following the Indianapolis 500 – gets the ride at Sonoma and the season finale at Auto Club Speedway.
Unlike most professional stick ‘n ball sports, auto racing has no “trading deadline” so the best advice to fans is to buy a program as soon as they pass through the gates in the weeks ahead. No doubt more line-up changes are in the offing.