'Anxious' Tony Stewart to undergo tests on broken back this mo

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Source:   —  April 08, 2016, at 5:43 PM

The three-time Sprint Cup champion, speaking Thursday after being honored for raising $1.5 million through his "Smoke Show" fantasy camp for the TX chapter of Speedway Children'south Charities, said some days it's been tough and some days it's been simple not racing this year while his back heals.

'Anxious' Tony Stewart to undergo tests on broken back this mo

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Tony Stewart said he feels excellent but needs to wait for a scanning on his broken back later this mo to define when he'll return to the driver'south seat.

The three-time Sprint Cup champion, speaking Thursday after being honored for raising $1.five million through his "Smoke Show" fantasy camp for the TX chapter of Speedway Children'south Charities, said some days it's been tough and some days it's been simple not racing this year while his back heals.

"I don't [know my return] -- not until they do the following set of scans," Stewart said. "The first thing they did were X-rays [in early March] just to create sure the rods and screws were in place. When we do the scans at the finish of the month, then they'll be able to have an idea precisely when it'south going to happen."

Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra in a Jan. thirty-one dune buggy accident. He was going 5 miles per hour but landed tough in a drop he estimated was twenty to twenty-five feet in the CA sand dunes.

He should wait for the bone to heal or risk suffering a more severe injury if he gets back in a race car. Stewart said he's been complimented by doctors for disobeying their orders and pushing things during his recovery. As a result, he'll necessity minimal therapy to obtain prepared to race.

"I perceive great," Stewart said. "I've been doing everything presently over the latest week that I've wanted to do. If you step off a curb incorrect or step too hard, you're definitely reminded you've these rods in your back.

"Other than that, I perceive really well. I'm anxious to obtain the scans. It'south driving me crazy wanting to look what it looks love and what's the diagnosis and when they think they're going to let me go."

Stewart announced latest year that two thousand sixteen would be his final season, but he's obviously itching to obtain back into the car.

"More than anything, I've just missed driving the race car," Stewart said. "That'south probably the one thing that I've missed the most. It'south not been about the racing side of it as much as it's been driving the race car."

Attending races and being on the team radios, Stewart has gotten a glimpse of what life will be love in two thousand-seventeenth, when he isn't competing on Sundays as a driver but is simply a co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.

"The excellent news is every Sun when the race is over, I'm not crazy at anybody, and nobody is crazy at me," said Stewart, who's struggled on the track the past few years. "I'm pleased when I go home. That'south not happened in a long, long time."

Brian Vickers and Ty Dillon have substituted for Stewart in his absence, with Vickers making his third consecutive race as fill-in Saturday at TX Motor Speedway. Dillon, already with two races in the No. fourteen, is expected to be driving it again following week at Bristol.

For Vickers, there could be more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart-Haas Racing and maybe a ride in the one-hundredth Indianapolis five hundred. He'd also like to do the twenty-four Hours of Le Mans again.

"Yeah, I'd like to race anything," Vickers said earlier Thursday. "I'd like to be in this car. I'm really enjoying this opportunity as well. I'm open to all of those opportunities."

Vickers started this three-race stretch with a 13th-place finish at CA before being seventh at Martinsville.

"Tony'south healing quickly, and he'south looking good, and it'south all kind of a wait-and-see when Tony is ready. At the finish of the day, it'south his car," Vickers said. "I think I'll be back in the car again, but it'south really up to how Tony's doing."

Vickers and Stewart-Haas teammate Danica Patrick were in triumph lane at TX Motor Speedway to unveil the "TaxAct Military Files Free" paint scheme for the No. fourteen this week.

Three consecutive races will be Vickers' longest stretch since the full two thousand fourteen season for Michael Waltrip Racing. He ran only two races latest season, his latest below contract with MWR, before getting sidelined by a third serious bout with blood clots. He's running only two full Sprint Cup seasons since 2009.

"Having some consistency in the driver's seat has been grand for [the team] and grand for us to construct that chemistry and work together. It takes time. It just does," Vickers said. "I detest that I'm in the car because of the circumstances because Tony is injured, and he's not here. I've been in his shoes many times. I wish him nothing but the best. I'd love to look him in the car soon, but [I'm] pleased to fill in for him until then."

Patrick, who'd her season-best finish of sixteenth at Martinsville, said Vickers has done a grand work for Stewart-Haas Racing.

"He'south helpful as a teammate, and he'south fallen into space really well," Patrick said. "I've always known Brian as a really excellent driver. He'south had grand career, so it was excellent that we found someone that could be so powerful and consistent and full of experience to be in the seat for Tony while he'south getting better."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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