Stewart Out at Least a Month
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on August 16, 2013 | 11:58 A.M. EST
Tony Stewart's recovery is going well, but doctors say the next week to two weeks will determine when he can return. (Photo: Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, says he’s working on the assumption that Tony Stewart will be out "for the next month or so," but admits he’s working on a driver lineup for the rest of the season.
Austin Dillon is driving Stewart’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Max Papis drove Stewart’s car to a 15th-place finish last weekend at Watkins Glen International a few days after Stewart suffered a broken right leg in a sprint car crash in Iowa.
Zipadelli said Friday that he will probably have two drivers for Stewart’s car "for the rest of the year" and plans to have the schedule done before the series heads to Bristol next weekend. Dillon, the Nationwide points leader, is one those two drivers. Zipadelli did not name the other driver. He said they’re looking at "at least" one more race with Dillon in Stewart’s car this season.
Zipadelli also provided an update on Stewart, who has had two surgeries since the injury. Stewart visited the doctor on Wednesday and signs were good, Zipadelli said.
The doctor’s main instructions to Stewart, according to Zipadelli, were, "Stay in bed with your leg over your heart for the next seven days, and come back and see me. We’ll re-evaluate you and tell you what you can do."
Zipadelli said Stewart is doing just that. They were together Wednesday night and Thursday.
"He’s in great spirits," Zipadelli said. "He’s going through a little bit of transition period. The next seven to 14 days will tell a lot of how it heals. It’s going to be a really slow process. He’s in a lot of pain at times. He was in a wheelchair (Thursday) when we had our meeting. For the most part, he’s supposed to be in bed."
While Stewart recovers, the team moves forward.
Dillon, who drove his Nationwide car Thursday at Mid-Ohio, is spending all day with the Stewart-Haas team Friday. Jason Bowles is scheduled to drive Dillon’s Nationwide car Friday in practice and qualify it Saturday morning.
Dillon will practice Stewart’s car Saturday at Michigan before returning to Mid-Ohio for Saturday’s Nationwide race. He will start at the back of the Nationwide field because he’ll miss qualifying.