NASCAR: Tony Stewart discusses planned fifth surgery on right leg


After undergoing a fourth surgery last week on the right leg he broke in a sprint car accident back in 2013, Tony Stewart has mentioned details of a planned fifth surgery.

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and winning team owner for this year’s series champ, Kevin Harvick, was in attendance today without crutches at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis.

According to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, Stewart said that the fifth surgery will involve removal of a metal rod in the leg he broke at Southern Iowa Speedway more than one year ago.

He added that with his injuries not healing as quickly as expected, a “small ring” was inserted during one of his previous procedures to help with blood flow.

“I don’t look like I’m walking really good, but I was on crutches two days ago,” Stewart said per the IndyStar. “It’s nice to get off crutches again. I’m looking forward to the day my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. I think that’s coming sooner rather than later.”

Stewart was released from the hospital Dec. 3 after his fourth surgery, and needed crutches while attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards two days later in Las Vegas.

Because of the surgery, Stewart sat in the audience at the Wynn while his Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner, Gene Haas, was at the head table with Harvick and also handled speaking duties.

Stewart fractured both his tibia and fibula in the 2013 sprint car crash, which ended his season early. He returned to competition in time for the start of the 2014 NASCAR campaign, but struggled on the track prior to his involvement in the Aug. 9 sprint car accident that killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.

The tragedy caused Stewart to sit out three races before he came back at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But his on-track woes continued with only one Top-5 finish in his final 12 events of 2014.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.