Tony Stewart continues to improve from the massive leg fracture he suffered in a sprint car race in Iowa in August 2013.
But the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champ still has a ways to go, including at least one more additional surgery, before he’s back to as close to normal as he was prior to the accident.
Stewart, who is recovering from a fourth surgery prior to last month’s NASCAR Awards banquet in Las Vegas, told USA Today that he will have a fifth surgery on his right leg after the 2015 Cup season is over.
The fifth surgery will be to remove a titanium support rod in his right leg.
“The leg isn’t bad,” Stewart told USA Today at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla. “I was out here (working at the track) on it for 12 hours Monday and didn’t have a problem. That’s a long day for anybody on their feet. I’m in pain, but I’m walking back and forth, so it’s not terrible.”
As for last month’s fourth surgery, it was essentially “routine maintenance,” according to Stewart spokesman Mike Arning.
“The last surgery wasn’t that bad,” Stewart said. “I feel better at this time this year than at the same time last year. I’m much further along.”
Stewart is coming off the worst season of his NASCAR career. For the first time in his 16-year Cup career, he failed to win even one race.
He also missed three races in the aftermath of the Kevin Ward Jr. sprint car race tragedy in upstate New York.
Stewart will once again try for his first-ever Daytona 500 win in this year’s race on Feb. 22. He’s failed to win the Great American Race in 16 previous tries.
Follow me @JerryBonkowski