Stewart-Haas Racing has announced that Tony Stewart is out for the season due to a broken leg sustained in a sprint car accident earlier this month. Mark Martin will drive the No. 14 car for most of the remaining races, with Austin Dillon handling Talladega.
“After consulting with Tony’s doctors and speaking with Tony, we agreed it was best for him to focus on his recovery,” said Greg Zipadelli, SHR director of competition. “For the No. 14 team, our focus is on positioning them for a run at the owner championship. Mark Martin and Austin Dillon give us the best opportunity to do that, and we certainly appreciate Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing for making Mark and Austin available to us."
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be out of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy for so long, but the team is in very good hands with Mark Martin and Austin Dillon,” Stewart said. “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Austin is a great young talent, and he showed that Sunday at Michigan. Greg Zipadelli, Steve Addington (crew chief) and everybody at SHR supports them 100 percent. This isn’t a situation anyone wanted, but we’re going to make the best of it. In the meantime, my focus is on getting healthy and getting back into my Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy.” Stewart indicated he would return to the driver's seat for preseason testing in January 2014.
Martin has been a reliable part-time driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, most recently coming within a few laps of winning Sunday's Michigan race. Martin's two-year contract with Waltrip ends this year, and there is substantial speculation about his future. Dillon, meanwhile, has a promising future ahead as a Cup-level driver for Richard Childress Racing.
The news comes as a blow to Stewart's fans and sponsors, and surely to Stewart himself. Stewart knows how a season can completely turn around at Chase time; just two years ago, he proclaimed himself completely out of the Chase mix at Richmond before winning five of the season's final ten races and the Sprint Cup.