By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Tony Stewart, who is getting ready to start the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Daytona, Fla., is hospitalized following a back injury. He suffered the injury in a non-racing accident on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Bob Pockrass.
The team is not expected to release an update on his condition until Thursday morning. According to his publicist Mike Arning, Stewart is “awake, alert and able to move his extremities.”
The 44-year-old, who made headlines earlier this month when he got into the face of a heckler and police officer at the Chili Bowl Nationals, will be entering his final season this year. He’s going to take a step back after being a driver and team owner in recent years.
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Depending on the severity of this injury, he could miss the first practice for the Sprint Cup Series on Feb. 12th at the historic Daytona International Speedway. He’s also expected to take part in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition the following day.
The season-opening Daytona 500 will kick off the season on Feb. 21st. Stewart has never won this historic race in 17 attempts.
Following a sprint-car crash in August 2013 at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, he broke two bones in his right leg. After the crash, he was forced to miss the final 15 races of that season.
In August 2014, he was involved in another sprint-car crash. This time around, it led to the death of Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua, New York the night before he was expected to compete in the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glenn International.
However, due to the crash, he backed out of the race and Regan Smith replaced him temporarily. Stewart hasn’t finished better than 35th in his past three tries at the Daytona 500.
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Last season, he finished in the 42nd position – and only 43 cars make the show. In Feb. 2004, he finished second in the race behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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