Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Tony Stewart addresses his fans about his recovery from injury

Injured NASCAR driver Tony Stewart used the Periscope app Friday morning to talk with fans as he walked on a treadmill at his home in the Charlotte, N.C., area.

Stewart will miss the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway after breaking his back in a dune buggy crash Jan. 31 in Southern California.

"We are doing much better," Stewart said on the app. "We're starting to get the pain under control, and I just didn't want everybody thinking that while everybody was in Daytona today that I'm sitting on my (butt) here in Charlotte."

On Friday, Stewart-Haas Racing officially announced that Brian Vickers will fill in for Stewart at Daytona, both in tonight's Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and in the Feb. 21 Daytona 500.

Unless he changes his mind about retiring after this season, Stewart will finish his career 0-for-17 in the Daytona 500.

Stewart said his dune buggy was going only 5 mph when it plunged over a steep, 20-25 foot dip in a dune and "face planted."

"It's pretty hard to make a story about breaking your back sound cool when you were only going 5 mph," he said. "I've never been hurt so bad only going 5 mph in my life."

Stewart, who answered fans' questions and comments, showed six small incisions on his lower back where two small rods and six screws were inserted in surgery. He said he expects the rods and screws will be removed this year.

Stewart, 44, said he uses the treadmill two or three times a day and has lost 22 pounds since Dec. 1 (10 since the accident).

It's the third time in recent years Stewart has been hurt. He broke his leg in 2013 during a sprint car race and missed 15 Cup races. He missed three races in 2014 after he was involved in a sprint car collision that claimed the life of another driver on a dirt track in upstate New York.

Sprint Unlimited: Jimmie Johnson got the pole position in a random draw for tonight's exhibition race (8:15, Ch. 13) at Daytona. He starts next to Brad Kese­lowski in the 25-car field for the 75-lap race. The field includes all 2015 pole-sitters, former Sprint Unlimited winners, former Daytona 500 pole-sitters, last year's Chase for the Championship drivers not already qualified, plus two more entries based on 2015 points.

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