By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart broke both major bones in his lower leg in a Sprint Car accident Monday night and will miss Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, putting his prospects of qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in jeopardy.
“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,” said a statement released by Stewart-Haas Racing, which Stewart co-owns.
Stewart, 42, was taken to a local hospital immediately after the accident and underwent surgery, according to the release.
A replacement for Stewart at Watkins Glen has not been determined. SHR canceled a team test scheduled for Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Stewart currently is 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with one victory, placing him in the first of two provisional Wild Card positions. Missing one race — or more — will make it difficult for Stewart to retain a Chase-eligible position and opens the door for teammate Ryan Newman, who is third in the Wild Card standings.
There are five races left before the Chase field is set at Richmond.
According to a report in the Des Moines Register, Stewart was leading the 30-lap feature of the Front Row Challenge with five laps left when Josh Higby’s car spun in Turn 4 and took out the top-three drivers in the running order — Stewart, Tasker Phillips and Tony Shilling.
Conscious and responsive after the accident, Stewart was placed on a stretcher and transported to the hospital in an ambulance.
The race continued, with Brian Brown beating NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie phenom Kyle Larson to the checkered flag.
“I didn’t see it happen,” Larson told the Register. “I just saw cars going everywhere. I had to duck through the infield, and luckily I missed it.”