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Watkins Glen: Max Papis to substitute for Stewart

Veteran racer Max Papis will take over the seat of the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing car at Watkins Glen this week, as Tony Stewart heads for more surgery on the leg he broke in a race accident.
The Stewart-Haas Racing team has announced that Max Papis will take over driving duties in the #14 car at this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International in place of the injured Tony Stewart.

Papis has competed in F1, CART, IndyCar and all three NASCAR national-level championships over the years, and last month claimed the GT class win in the Brickyard Grand Prix race in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car series. Papis even tested Stewart's Cup car last week at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, making him the obvious short-notice replacement for the team.

Stewart is currently in hospital after a four-car crash in a sprint car race on Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Stewart sustained a broken tibia and fibula in the crash, but was awake and talking to track workers as he was stretchered away. The team confirmed that he had not suffered any other injuries, other than the double fracture of his right leg.

Stewart underwent preliminary surgery overnight at a local hospital to stabilise what was described as a Grade 2 injury. However, the team announced that Stewart would require further surgery on the injury - likely to insert a rod into the leg to help the fracture set correctly - and that he would remain in hospital in the meantime.

There was no indication of how long Stewart would be in hospital for overall, or when it might be feasible for him to return to racing. One medical expert said that an injury of this type typically takes four to eight weeks "before people can get real active again," and that the usual course of treatment includes blood thinners to reduce the risk of clots in the patient while he or she has limited mobility. NASCAR would not normally allow someone on such medication to race because of the risk of haemorrhaging in the event of being involved in an accident.

In the meantime, the three-time Cup champion posted a brief message to fans on his Facebook page via his mobile phone: "I told someone to go get my phone or else I was going to get up and get it myself," he wrote. "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."

The accident could hardly have come at a worse stage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. There are only five races remaining before the Chase cut-off that decides who is still in the running for the 2013 championship. Currently in 11th place in the standings, even if he missed only one race Stewart is now highly unlikely to finish in the top ten that would put him into the title play-offs.

Instead, Stewart will be hoping to claim one of the two 'most wins' wildcards to get him through to the Chase. That needs him to be one of the two drivers with the most wins in the rest of the top 20 after next month's race at Richmond; currently Stewart has one win to his name after clinching victory in June's race at Dover International Speedway.

Two other drivers outside the top ten also have one win apiece - Martin Truex Jr. (14th) and Stewart's own team mate Ryan Newman (15th). If both drivers finish ahead of Stewart, he would miss the cut. Other scenarios include Greg Biffle (currently in tenth place with one win) dropping out of the top ten and taking up one of the wild cards, or one or more of the other winless drivers outside the top ten such as Brad Keselowski or Kurt Busch winning a race in the next month.



Related Pictures

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Max Papis at Infineon during qualifying on June 20, 2008. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Max Papis during the Sprint Media Tour in January, 2013. (Photo Credit: Jamey Price/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart at Las Vegas - Saturday, March 9 2013. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 21st position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Newman is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 5th position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick is 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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