Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Broken back puts Stewart out of Daytona 500

Tony Stewart, who turns 45 in May, has not won a Sprint Cup race since 2013 and was 28th in the final standings last year.

Getty Images

Tony Stewart, who turns 45 in May, has not won a Sprint Cup race since 2013 and was 28th in the final standings last year.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart will miss the start of his final NASCAR season after fracturing his back in a mishap on an all-terrain vehicle, Stewart-Haas Racing said Thursday.

The three-time NASCAR champion sustained a "burst fracture of the L1 vertebra" when he crashed Sunday on an ATV. He had surgery Wednesday, the team said. A timetable for his return has not been determined, but SHR said he's expected to make a full recovery and race this year.

Drivers report to Daytona next week to begin preparations for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 21. An interim driver for the No. 14 Chevrolet was not named Thursday.

Denny Hamlin in 2013 suffered a compression fracture to the same L1 vertebra and missed four races. But even after his return, he struggled with back pain the rest of the season.

Stewart will miss what is expected to be his final Daytona 500. He's 0-17 in the race and spoke recently about how it's one of the few glaring holes on his resume. Stewart, who turns 45 in May, plans to retire from NASCAR racing at the end of this year.

Stewart was with Greg Biffle and other NASCAR personalities on the ATV outing in the Southern California desert when he crashed. The team said he was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital, and was able to move all of his extremities.

Stewart flew to North Carolina late Tuesday and remained hospitalized Thursday after surgery.

Biffle was not present when Stewart crashed but told SiriusXM's NASCAR channel that "we started kind of hearing bits and pieces that he hurt his back."

It's another setback in the final stages of one of the most storied careers in racing. Stewart has slumped since breaking his leg in a 2013 sprint car crash. A year later, he missed three races while in seclusion after his car struck and killed a fellow driver at a dirt track in New York. Stewart was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing but faces a civil suit from the family of Kevin Ward Jr.

He has not won a race since 2013, before he broke his leg, and was 28th in the final Sprint Cup standings last year.

Broken back puts Stewart out of Daytona 500 02/04/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2016 8:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Volkov hopes to prove his surprise selection right

    Blogs

    RW Alexander Volkov was not a particularly talked-about player in the lead up to the NHL entry draft.

  2. Competition and uncertainty keep New Port Richey's Steve Miklos hooked on power boat racing

    Outdoors

    HOLIDAY — If Steve Miklos could have it his way, every power boat race would take place in rough water. He finds the turbulent conditions calming, an attitude he's developed during a professional power boat racing career that spans hundreds of races dating back to 1991.

    Steve Miklos, the throttle man and owner of the No. 51 Sun Print Racing boat, poses at his shop in Holiday. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Did a Cubs player give Trump the middle finger during a White House visit?

    Ml

    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on …

    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on social media.
The photo, taken by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, purportedly shows outfielder Albert Almora Jr. flipping a bird while standing just feet from Trump as the other players were gathered around his desk. [Gordon Wittenmyer via Twitter]
  4. Jeff Vinik contributing $6 million to fund Lightning's practice facility upgrade

    Blogs

    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  5. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]