Stewart needs second surgery; Papis will replace him

5:10 PM, Aug 6, 2013   |    comments
Tony Stewart has started 521 consecutive Sprint Cup races.(Photo: Matthew O'Haren, USA TODAY Sports)
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By Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports

Tony Stewart will need a second surgery on his right leg after breaking the tibia and fibula Monday night in a sprint car crash in Iowa.

A Stewart-Haas Racing statement said Stewart, who underwent an initial surgery to stabilize and clean the injury, will require a second surgery. The broken leg was his only injury from the crash.

Stewart will stay in the hospital for observation.

"I told someone to go get my phone or else I was going to get up and get it myself," a post on Stewart's Facebook page said. "Finally got reconnected to the world and just want to say thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. My team will remain strong and I will be back."

Max Papis will fill in for the injured Stewart this weekend at Watkins Glen, SHR announced Tuesday afternoon.

Papis, who has years of road-racing experience all over the world, will drive the No. 14 Chevrolet in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Papis drove Stewart's No. 14 car on July 30 during a team test at Road Atlanta.

Missing the Watkins Glen race means Stewart will snap a streak of 521 starts dating back to the 1999 Daytona 500 - his first career Cup race. His streak ranked 10th all time and was third among active drivers behind Jeff Gordon (710) and Jeff Burton (613).

Stewart's crash Monday was his third in three weeks. He set off a multi-car crash July 16 in upstate New York that sent two drivers to the hospital, then flipped five times while racing on July 29 in Ontario, Canada.

After the flip in Canada, he became irritated with reporters who asked about the incident prior to Sunday's NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway.

"When they wreck, they get upside down like that," he said. "That was not a big deal. ... I guarantee you there were 15 to 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."

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