Injured Stewart expected to be busy this week
September 03, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Related: Tony Stewart news conference, live at 2 p.m. ET
HAMPTON, Ga. – Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart is expected to resume a busy schedule of sponsor appearances this week, and could return to the race track as early as this weekend when teams compete at Richmond International Raceway.
It has been approximately one month since Stewart suffered a broken leg in a sprint car accident. Except for regular visits to the doctor and at least one trip to his team’s shop, Stewart has remained out of the public eye.
The co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing is scheduled to meet with members of the media Sept. 3 for the first time since the accident, which occurred Aug. 5. A press conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. ET at the organization’s headquarters in Kannapolis, N.C. It will be streamed live on NASCAR.com. Click here to bookmark page.
Stewart, 42, broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg when he crashed while competing at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Hospitalized for six days, he underwent two surgeries, but is expected to return to the driver’s seat of the organization’s No. 14 Chevrolet in time for the start of the 2014 season. Team officials confirmed Aug. 19 that he would not return to compete this season.
In his absence, Max Papis filled in for the team at Watkins Glen International, while Austin Dillon drove the No. 14 a week later at Michigan International Speedway.
Mark Martin was then tabbed to fill in for 12 of the final 13 races of the season (with the exception coming at Talladega in October, when Dillon will run in the No. 14 car), beginning with last week’s IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli said Aug. 27 that he has no reason to believe Stewart will not be back in the car when the 2014 season gets underway.
“I don’t think there’s much question,” Zipadelli said Aug. 27. “The prognosis is better every time he goes to the doctor.
“We’re not going to push him to get in a car until probably Daytona (next year). We’ll give him all the time he needs.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will travel to Daytona International Speedway in early January for Preseason Thunder, three days of testing on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
SHR currently fields three Cup entries -- for drivers Stewart, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick. Next season the organization will field four teams -- for Stewart, Patrick, Kevin Harvick, who will replace Newman, and Kurt Busch.