Kannapolis, NC (Sports Network) - Three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony
Stewart underwent successful surgery on his broken right leg on Thursday in
It was the second surgical procedure Stewart had since he suffered a broken
tibia and fibula in an accident during a sprint car race on Monday night at
Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The 42-year-old driver had a metal
rod inserted inside his tibia, pressing it to its atomic position.
His first surgery, done on Tuesday in Iowa, served as a preliminary procedure
to stabilize and clean the Grade 2 injury.
According to a news release from Stewart-Haas Racing, Stewart's injury will
sideline him indefinitely. He is the driver and co-owner of the No. 14
Chevrolet in Sprint Cup. SHR also noted that Stewart will remain hospitalized
for observation. His discharge date has yet to be determined.
SHR revealed on Tuesday that Max Papis will replace Stewart in the No. 14 car
for this weekend's race at Watkins Glen International. Papis, a road-course
expert, tested the car on July 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. The
Italian-born racer has 35 starts in NASCAR's top series. His career-best
finish of eighth came in 2009 at Watkins Glen.
"I'm not going to go out there to run 20th or 25th, but I'm going to go out
there to make everyone proud and do the best job I can, and I know that my
best job is pretty good," Papis said.
On Wednesday, SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli said during a
teleconference that he expected Stewart to miss several races but was not
exactly sure how many. The racing organization is exploring its options for
Michigan (Aug. 18), Bristol (Aug. 24) and Atlanta (Sept. 1).
"As far as next week and on, we've got a few candidates, and we're talking to
a few people," Zipadelli said. "We've got a lot of people that have obviously
reached out. We're not sure if we can put one person in until Tony gets back
or we're going to have to do multiple people.
"Our main priority was this was such short notice, and it was to get Max in
here (on Tuesday), get the seat and all the things that we needed to change in
this car and get this car headed to Watkins Glen, take care of all the stuff
that we're doing now, and then we'll get behind some closed doors and kind of
really decide who will be the best candidate for the 14 car and SHR to try and
maintain what we can in owner's points."
Stewart's injury certainly ends any hopes of him making this year's Chase for
the Sprint Cup championship. With five races to go before the Chase begins, he
is 11th in the point standings, just five points behind 10th-place Greg
Biffle. Stewart currently holds one of the two wild card positions due to his
one win this season, which came on June 2 at Dover. He has qualified for the
Chase each season except 2006, the year after he won his second series title.
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