Tony Stewart breaks leg in Iowa sprint car wreck; Max Papis to fill in at The Glen

Tony Stewart broke his right leg in a sprint car wreck on Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway. He will miss this weekend's race at Watkins Glen at the very least – road-course specialist Max Papis will fill in – and this almost certainly kills his chances of winning another Sprint Cup championship.

Stewart was leading the 30-lap main event in Oskaloosa, Iowa when he got collected in a multi-car wreck. He broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg. According to his team, he has already come through surgery.

UPDATE: Stewart will undergo a second surgery. According to Stewart Haas Racing, the first surgery "served as a preliminary procedure to stabilize and clean the Grade 2 injury." Stewart remains hospitalized for observation.

"It looked like he got into a lapped car," race winner Brian Brown told The Des Moines Register. "When I got close, he was flipping cage down. I didn't really have time to watch and see what was going on."

This marks Stewart's third wreck in recent weeks. Last week, following a wreck in Canada in which he flipped several times, Stewart took shots at the media for daring to question whether this is the wisest activity for one of the sport's most significant drivers.

"You mortals have got to learn, you guys need to watch more sprint car videos and stuff," Stewart shot back during his media session at Pocono. "It was not a big deal. It's starting to get annoying this week about that. That was just an average sprint car wreck. When they wreck, they get upside down like that."

Stewart of course cancelled a Tuesday testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the team announced Tuesday that Papis will replace him at Watkins Glen. The team did not reveal how long Stewart will be out.

"I told someone to go get my phone or else I was going to get up and get it myself," Stewart wrote on his Facebook page. "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."

This would be the first Cup race without Stewart since 1998, a string of 521 consecutive starts.

Stewart is currently 11th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and with a win does hold one of the wild-card spots. However, missing significant time will likely drop him below fellow one-win drivers Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr., who are 10th and 19th points behind Stewart, respectively.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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