Tony Stewart was evaluated by doctors on Wednesday, five weeks after undergoing surgery for a back injury sustained in an all-terrain-vehicle accident. They’re satisfied with the amount of healing that’s taken place and Stewart has been assigned a rehabilitation regimen designed to hasten his recovery. Future evaluations are necessary, however, before a timetable is set for his return to competition.
Ty Dillon is scheduled to make his second start of the season in Stewart’s Number-14 Chevrolet on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished seventeenth in his debut eleven days ago at Atlant Motor Speedway.
Brian Vickers drove the car in the season-opening Daytona 500 and again last weekend in Las Vegas. According to the Stewart-Haas Racing statement released yesterday, plans for an interim driver have not been finalized as Stewart begins his rehabilitation program.
The Associated Press is reporting that Brian Vickers will soon be named to replace the injured Tony Stewart for upcoming events at Daytona International Speedway, including the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 21st. Stewart-Haas Racing would not confirm Wednesday’s report and has a press conference scheduled Friday morning. On January 31st, Stewart suffered a serious back injury in an all-terrain-vehicle accident while vacationing in California. He was driving dune buggies in a group with other NASCAR drivers and was injured as he reportedly landed hard after a jump.
Stewart is now recovering from surgery, which was performed February 3rd. There is no announced timetable for his return. Vickers made just two starts last season with Michael Waltrip Racing before being sidelined by a recurrence of blood clots and must be medically cleared by NASCAR before returning to competition.