Stewart Breaks Leg; Papis To Drive 14 At The Glen
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Sprint Cup driver/team owner Tony Stewart suffered a broken leg when he crashed while racing in a 360 sprint car race in Iowa Monday night. He will miss this weekend’s race at the Watkins Glen road course.
Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Max Papis will driver Stewart’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing car.
Stewart Haas Racing sent out the following statement on the situation:
“Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a broken right tibia and fibula in a Sprint Car crash Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
“Stewart was transported to a local hospital immediately following the accident and underwent surgery. An injury update will be provided later this afternoon.
Veteran racer Papis will serve as the interim driver for Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet at Watkins Glen. Papis tested the No. 14 Chevrolet on July 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
Stewart is currently 11th in Cup points and squarely on the bubble in terms of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, which begins in six races.
The three-time Cup champion is five points behind Greg Biffle in the fight for the 10th and final points-based Chase spot, and he is two points ahead of Brad Keselowski, who is in 12th place.
Stewart does have a victory which puts him in contention for one of two wild card Chase berths.
Stewart has a long history of racing sprint cars and other short track cars. He was a USAC Triple Crown winner before jumping into IndyCar and then NASCAR.
He owns a team that races in – and has won championships in – dirt series such as the World of Outlaws. From time to time, he gets behind the wheel at dirt track races and competes.
He is also the owner of Eldora Speedway, a half-mile dirt oval located in Rossburg, Ohio.
Dirt track racing has had a rough 2013 season. Two drivers have been killed in recent months, including Jason Leffler, a former NASCAR driver.
Stewart himself was involved in a rollover wreck last week but emerged unhurt.
Last Friday, during a press conference at Pocono Raceway, Stewart was asked about that wreck. When it was suggested that it looked nasty to observing “mortals”, Stewart said, “You mortals have got to learn, you guys need to watch more sprint car videos and stuff. It was not a big deal. It’s starting to get annoying this week about that so that was just an average sprint car wreck. When they wreck they get upside down like that. That was not a big deal.
“I guarantee you there were 15-20 guys across the country that flipped just like that this weekend and were just fine just like we were. If it’s bad we will let you guys know. That was not bad at all. I raced the next night and ran fifth and the World of Outlaw race. It was not bad.”
Stewart was reportedly leading Monday night’s 30-lap feature with five laps remaining when another car spun and Stewart was got caught up.
“It looked like he got into a lapped car,” race-winner Brian Brown told the Des Moines Register. “When I got close, he was flipping cage down. I didn’t really have time to watch and see what was going on.”
Papis has made 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, with a career-best finish of eighth in 2009 at Watkins Glen. He has competed in Formula One, Indy car, sports cars and other NASCAR divisions, including the Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and Canadian Tire Series. He is a three-time CART race winner and a seven-time winner in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, which includes a Daytona Prototype victory at Watkins Glen in the 2004 Sahlen’s Sports Car Grand Prix.
Papis won the 2004 Grand-Am Rolex championship with co-driver Scott Pruett and is a two-time winner of the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona (2000 and 2002). Papis, 43, is from Como, Italy, and is a political science graduate of Milan University. He resides in Mooresville, N.C., with his wife, Tatiana, and sons, Marco and Matteo.
(This story will be updated as more information becomes available)One Comment