Tony Stewart breaks leg, Max Papis to fill in at Watkins Glen

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OSKALOOSA, Iowa– After a five-flip sprint car wreck at a Canadian speedway last week, Tony Stewart emerged unharmed and more determined than ever to continue his busy schedule of racing for the rest of 2013.

Another wreck a week later, however, will have a much greater effect on the Columbus native’s ability to do so.

In a Sprint Car at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa Stewart crashed when he came up on slower traffic and flipped his No. 14 machine, suffering a broken right tibia and fibula. Stewart underwent surgery immediately after the accident to repair the broken leg which was classified as a Grade 2 injury.

Per his team, Stewart will need a second surgery to continue repairing the leg and he remains hospitalized. The driver reached out to fans via Facebook on Monday.

“I told someone to go get my phone or else I was going to get up and get it myself. 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,” said Stewart on his page.

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will not race this weekend at the series event at Watkins Glen, snapping the driver’s 521 consecutive start streak in the NASCAR that dates back to 1999. Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Tuesday that veteran Max Papis will drive the No. 14 machine for this weekend’s race.

Last week, Stewart was involved in another accident during the sprint car race at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario, Canada. Stewart rolled his car five times, but he was uninjured.

The injury comes at a bad time for Stewart, who is on the cusp of qualifying for the Chase For the Sprint Cup championship. Stewart currently sits 11th in the points standings with the top twelve drivers advancing to NASCAR’s championship 10-races.

Reaction to the drivers’ injury has come in via Twitter from many NASCAR drivers, including his teammate and 2013 Brickyard 400 champion Ryan Newman.

“Can’t blame a guy for doing what he loves. Hoping my buddy Tony has a fast recovery,” said Newman on his account.

On her account, teammate Danica Patrick posted: “Such a sad situation with tony. He was racing cars he loves. When he’s healed, it will be like he never missed beat! Heal fast big brother!”