Stewart-Haas working to line up replacement drivers for rest of season

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In short order, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli is hoping to have interim drivers for the injured Tony Stewart finalized through the remainder of the season.

“We’re certainly looking at trying probably in the next three to four days, before we get to Bristol – everything will be ironed out for the rest of the year,” he said on Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

“We’ve had hurdles that we’ve had to get through so we are looking at that and we’re working on that. It will be two drivers probably the rest of the year…Just try to get them guys to try to build some chemistry and get the best finishes we can.”

Zipadelli said that Austin Dillon, who is replacing Stewart in the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet this weekend in the Pure Michigan 400, is a potential option going forward as Stewart recovers from breaking two bones in his right leg in a recent sprint car crash.

“We don’t have anything concrete yet,” said Zipadelli. “We’re looking at that other option and just seeing how many races that they can do. It looks like one more race at least for Austin through the rest of the year with us.”

In the meantime, Dillon is preparing for a “double duty” weekend that will also see him compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course tomorrow.

The NNS championship leader tested on Thursday at Mid-Ohio and expects to see “a pretty wild race” on the tight, winding road course.

“There are some blind corners and some elevation changes and some really slow corners where people are going to make up ground and mistakes are going to be made,” he said. “My goal always is to finish laps in these races and that will always bring positions to you.”

As for his goals for Sunday at Michigan, Dillon said that “trying to put ourselves in position at the end of the race to get a Top-15 [finish] would be great.” Earlier today, he qualified 27th for the 400-miler.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”