Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series broke both bones in his lower right leg Monday night in a sprint car crash at Southern Iowa Speedway, a half-mile dirt oval in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed early Tuesday morning that the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg. Stewart was transported to an area hospital after the accident, and immediately underwent surgery.
According to Stewart-Haas Racing, a replacement driver for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International, where Stewart is a five-time winner has not yet been determined.
Stewart being out will severely impact his chances of making the Chase. He’s 11th in the Sprint Cup standings with five races to go until the Chase for the championship field is set.
The Des Moines Register reported that Stewart was leading the Front Row Challenge winged sprint car event with five laps remaining when another car spun and collected the top three drivers.
Race winner Brian Brown told the Des Moines Register he saw the accident in front of him, turned left, hit an infield tire and kept going.
“First and foremost, we’re concerned about Tony and making sure he’s all right. He’s a huge asset to our sport, especially sprint car racing and an icon in the whole motorsports field. Anytime you see him wreck like that and then leave in an ambulance, it’s never good. Hopefully he’s OK. We weren’t going to win that race. We were probably going to run third or fourth.”
This is Stewart’s third crash in a month racing sprint cars. On July 16 he was involved in a 15-car pileup at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. Last Monday night at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario, Canada, Stewart was racing for the lead when his vehicle flipped five times.
Stewart schedules roughly 70 sprint car events per year in addition to his NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. He claims that sprint cars are safe, even after the wreck last Monday.
“You mortals have got to learn, you guys need to watch more sprint car videos and stuff,” he said Friday at Pocono. “It was not a big deal. It’s starting to get annoying this week about that. That was just an average sprint car wreck. When they wreck, they get upside down like that.”
Earlier this year, Jason Leffler died due to injuries sustained during a sprint car crash, leading many others to questions the cars safety.