DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2012) – NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Austin Dillon has returned to Daytona Beach, Fla., where he will remain on standby to drive the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway should Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick need to return home for the birth of the couple’s first child. Harvick’s wife DeLana has returned to North Carolina where she is resting comfortably.
UPDATE: By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Austin Dillon, who was scheduled to be on standby as a potential relief driver for Kevin Harvick in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400, won’t be able to sub in for his Richard Childress Racing teammate.
Dillon, the top rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, was not cleared for Sprint Cup competition on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway by NASCAR officials.
Dillon has made two previous Sprint Cup starts, last season at 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway and earlier this year at 2-mile Michigan International Speedway, but the 22-year-old has not driven a Sprint Cup car on a restrictor-plate track and did not practice Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet before Saturday’s race.
Harvick and his wife, DeLana Harvick, are expecting their first child, and there’s a possibility the baby may be born Saturday, which also is DeLana Harvick’s birthday.
“Happy birthday @DeLanaHarvick could be an interesting one,” Harvick posted on his Twitter account just before noon ET on Saturday.
RCR officials said Kenny Wallace was in the mix as a possible Saturday replacement for Harvick.
Dillon flew home to North Carolina after finishing fourth in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona, intending to race Late Models before heading for a Nationwide event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, according to sources close to the situation.
But Dillon traveled back to Daytona on Saturday in case his services were needed. Harvick said in his Thursday media availability at Daytona that he didn’t have a back-up arranged, but apparently that changed as the weekend progressed.