Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart has been hospitalized with a back injury suffered not during a NASCAR race, but rather behind the wheel of an ATV, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday.
Stewart is awake, alert and able to move his extremities, according to a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning, who said the accident happened Sunday on the West Coast and wouldn’t specify where Stewart is hospitalized.
“We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart’s accident and injury,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said. “On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he’s ready to return.”
Stewart announced in September that he would retire from racing after the 2016 Sprint Cup season, which begins Feb. 21 with the Daytona 500.
When you’re a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, capable of navigating dozens of cars moving at hundreds of miles per hour without crashing, you probably feel pretty confident about your safety on an ATV, but obviously these things can happen to anyone.
Hopefully, Stewart makes a quick recovery and is able to participate fully in his retirement campaign instead of missing a chunk of his farewell campaign.