Max Papis to fill in for Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen; Stewart needs second surgery

Max Papis will drive Tony Stewart's No. 14 car at Watkins Glen, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday.

Papis, who has a strong road course racing background, was available this weekend and has driven for Richard Childress Racing, a Chevrolet team, in the Nationwide Series this season. Plus, he tested for Stewart-Haas on July 30 at Road Atlanta.

In the release announcing Papis as the team's driver, SHR said that the surgery Stewart underwent Tuesday morning after breaking his leg in a sprint car crash in Oskaloosa, Iowa "served as a preliminary procedure to stabilize and clean the Grade 2 injury. A second surgery will be necessary. In the meantime, Stewart will remain hospitalized for observation."

Stewart was leading the sprint car race when he collided with a spinning lapped car and his car flipped over. A driver for the events following Watkins Glen, nor a timeline for Stewart's recovery has been released.

Stewart also posted this update to his Facebook page on Tuesday:

"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."

Papis, 43, has raced twice in the Nationwide Series this year, including at Road America. There he was running well when he had contact with Billy Johnson. After the race, Papis had a word with Johnson and slapped him on the helmet. He's also racing full-time in the Rolex Grand-Am Series in the GT class, where he and Jeff Segal won at Indianapolis.

That full-time schedule will provide a bit of a commute for Papis over the weekend. The Grand-Am Series is at Road America, but the schedules for each series make it workable. Grand-Am practice sessions begin on Thursday, while Sprint Cup practice begins on Friday. Cup qualifying is at 11:40 AM ET on Saturday, and the Grand-Am race is at 5:00 PM ET that evening.

Sunday's race will be Papis's first race in the Cup Series since 2010. Overall, he's made 35 starts in the Cup Series, including two with Haas CNC Racing, the season before it became Stewart-Haas Racing. His highest finish is 8th, which came at Watkins Glen in 2009. Papis also drove all or parts of eight seasons in CART, where he won three times.

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