It appears that Tony Stewart will not be returning any time soon to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after he suffered a broken leg on Monday night during a sprint car race in Iowa.
Stewart, part owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, has undergone two surgeries for a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg and faces another operation. He is not expected to be available to drive for at least several more weeks, ESPN.com reported Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the team named road course specialist Max Papis to drive the No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Watkins Glen.
Greg Zipadelli. the team’s competition director, expects to know more soon about Stewart’s condition and other potential substitute drivers after the next surgery. Zipadelli said Stewart remains in pain after the accident.
“We will have a much better idea of what the healing process will be and will be able to do a better job,” Zipadelli said, according to ESPN. “Is it six weeks or is it longer? Honestly, we do not have an answer for that right now.
“A far as next week and on, we have a few candidates. We’re talking to a few people. We’re not sure if we can put one person in until Tony gets back or we’ll use multiple people.”
If Stewart misses several races, it will end his shot at making the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship that starts in September.
The accident also raised questions about Stewart continuing to race in non-Cup events.
“It’s a tough one,” Zipadelli told ESPN. “We all know Tony loves to do those races. We know that’s his golf game. It’s his hunting, his fishing, all the things the rest of us do.
“There is a difference in the amount of responsibility we have and obligations to other people. That’s kind of where it gets sticky.”