Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Stewart breaks leg in sprint car crash

Tony Stewart often races sprint cars during his spare time.

Tony Stewart often races sprint cars during his spare time.

Tony Stewart told anyone who would listen why he continued racing anywhere, anytime, regardless of purse or crowd or car.

Even after he flipped five times last week while driving a sprint car, Stewart offered a stout defense for his short-track weeknight racing as some questioned if he risked his championship chances in NASCAR.

Well, his title chances are over now.

The three-time Sprint Cup champ broke his right leg Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, a half-mile dirt track where he flipped his 360 winged sprint car while leading with five laps left in a 30-lap feature. He had surgery Tuesday on his upper and lower leg. Stewart-Haas Racing, the NASCAR team he co-owns, said he'll need a second surgery.

He remained hospitalized and there was no timetable for his return. Road racing ace Max Papis will replace Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, where Stewart's streak of 521 consecutive Cup starts will end.

"Finally got reconnected to the world and just want to say thank you for all the prayers and well wishes," Stewart said Tuesday in a Facebook post.

Stewart, 42, has wrecked three times in the past month in extracurricular racing. But he has long refused to slow down his sprint car schedule.

One of the benefits of co-owning Stewart-Haas is that he has more freedom to race at smaller tracks in his spare time than he did at Joe Gibbs Racing. And his commitment to grass-roots racing includes ownership of Eldora Speedway in Ohio, where NASCAR recently held a truck series event, its first dirt race in a major series in more than 40 years.

Stewart was impassioned Friday at Pocono when asked about his five-flip accident last week in Canada.

"You mortals have got to learn, you guys need to watch more sprint car videos and stuff," he said at the time. "It was not a big deal. … When they wreck, they get upside down like that."

His childhood hero, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt — who came through the ranks at a time when all Indy drivers raced sprint cars — defended Stewart Tuesday for sticking to his passion and being a true "racer.

"He ain't no prima donna and life is short, and we don't know how we are going to die or what's going to happen," Foyt told AP by phone. "I just hate to see anybody badmouth Tony for anything he's doing, and if they are, they are just jealous."

When former NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died in a sprint car accident in June in Swedesboro, N.J., Stewart defended track and sprint car safety.

"I'd be grateful if you guys (media) would understand that what happened this week wasn't because somebody didn't do something right with the racetrack," he said. "It was an accident. Just like if you go out and there's a car crash."

Stewart breaks leg in sprint car crash 08/06/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out of Class 3A semifinals


    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  2. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead


    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  3. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight


    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins:

  4. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip


    UPDATE, 4:11: Interesting that Bourjos is not in lineup vs. LHP Santiago and lefty swinger Dickerson is, but Twins LH starter Hector Santiago has allowed a .500 average (13-for-26) to lefties, but .210 (35-for-167) to righties.

    Here is the Rays lineup:

  5. Hard to believe NFL overtime change is about player safety


    If someone's house was engulfed in flames, would you hand him a fire extinguisher?

    Of course not.

    Fans await the beginning of overtime between the Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. [Associated Press]