Dirt tracks still in Stewart's plans

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeAugust 23, 2013


Tony Stewart does not plan to stop racing on dirt tracks when he returns from a broken leg next season.
Stewart was injured in a dirt-track race Aug. 5 in Iowa. He broke his right leg in two places during a crash.
"(Stewart) will not be staying away from dirt-track racing," said radio co-host Kendra Jacobs, who interviewed Stewart for Motor Racing Network's "Wing Nation" show. "This has not affected any of his plans for dirt-track racing. He will be back in dirt-track racing next year. There is absolutely no reason why he would not get back into a sprint car."
While he will not stop competing in those sprint car races, he does plan to make the cars more safe.
Mark Martin, who will is replacing Stewart for 12 of the final 13 Sprint Cup races this season, said Stewart explained what caused his injury. According to Martin, the drive shaft came through the cockpit and hit Stewart's leg, breaking the tibia and fibula.
ESPN reported that the surgery repaired a leg that was significantly damaged.
"The way evidently the rear ends can't come back because they hit the fuel cell," Martin said at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday. "When the car went upside down the rear end was able to get below the fuel cell and it was able to pull like the drive shaft ... the yoke out of the front side and that is what got him."
Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli said: "He's kind of explaining what it is, the torque tube came out and hit him. There is protection, but obviously that hoop that is there is not enough to contain it. I think that is the area they are working in."
In response to Jacobs' interview with Stewart, Zipadelli said it is too early to determine whether Stewart will continue racing on dirt tracks.
"That is what makes him that is who he is," he said. "Can we get him to cut his schedule back? Can we get him to look at things? Can we help with his movement to make those cars safer for everyone, including himself? Those things will be the things that come in the next couple of months."
Zipadelli said Stewart has struggled with being away from racing while he recovers.
"But he's a racer. He loves to do what he does," Zipadelli said. "I hope that and think that he will come back to Daytona (in February) with something to prove to the world and maybe he will turn over a whole new leaf -- he hasn't got to see you guys for four or five months -- and he will be more welcoming to you.
"I don't know. I can't guarantee that."
Martin will race in Stewart's spot for the first time Saturday night at Bristol. He was previously released from his contract with Michael Waltrip Racing.
"I'm a little bit nervous about today because I feel like it is an extraordinary challenge," Martin said. "I've switched around a lot, but usually you have a couple of months and a test or two to get together."