CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell — Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America photo —
What’s bed rest?
For the second straight week, Stewart-Haas Racing driver and co-owner Tony Stewart will be at the racetrack — managing and supporting his organization — after sustaining a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident last month.
Stewart underwent a successful surgery a few days following the incident, but has been forced to the sidelines, missing the 58th Annual Daytona 500 and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 last weekend at Atlanta — the first two races on the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.
Stewart was not present for ‘The Great American Race’ during Daytona Speedweeks, but was atop the spotter stand last weekend at Atlanta. He has also been racing RC cars — a remote controlled car — at former NASCAR drivers Scott Speed and TJ Bell’s Speed RC, a RC car track in Mooresville, N.C.
“I have been to Scott Speed and TJ Bell’s track since I have gotten hurt, racing RC cars,” Stewart told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90 at the Mirage Las Vegas. “I went to Atlanta last weekend, was up on the spotter stand standing for four hours. I am definitely pushing it.”
Right now, Stewart is out west, gearing his team up for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — the first race on NASCAR’s west coast swing.
He should however, be in bed — resting.
“I am suppose to be home, laying in bed,” Stewart explained. “And walking on a treadmill, three or four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes.”
For Stewart, this is the first time he has broken his back, making this injury an uncertainty; he has no idea what to expect.
“The hard part is, I have never broke my back before,” Stewart explained. “At this point, I feel like I have broken everything (in my body) at some point. I did not really know what to expect or plan for (after breaking my back).”
“The biggest thing they were worried about (with me coming to Las Vegas), was the plane ride. We did everything but wrap me in bubble wrap to put me on the airplane yesterday to get me out here.”
The three-time Sprint Cup champion will go back to the doctors this week for x-rays, which will give a good indication of how he is progressing.
It will also give an idea on a possible timetable for a return to the racecar.
“I go (back to the doctor) this Wednesday to get the first set of x-rays,” he added. “So we will kinda have a better idea of where we stand with everything then and how it is progressing.”
“It is just way too early to tell (when I will be back in the car). Wednesday will be the first checkup.”
Brian Vickers will substitute for Stewart in the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet this weekend in the Kobalt Tools 400, which is slated for 3:00 p.m. Eastern with coverage on FOX, the Performance Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and was also formerly the public relations director for NASCAR Next member Austin Hill. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Md., completing his sophomore year. He is just 15 years old.
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