Tony Stewart and his Stewart-Haas Racing team announced on Monday that the drivers recent car crash injuries will take him out for the remainder of the 2013 Sprint Cup season. Replacing Stewart in the No. 14 car is Mark Martin. He will take over Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet for 12 of the final 13 races of the season including Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The race Martin does not compete in for Stewart-Hass Racing will be run by Austin Dillon at Talladega Superspeedway.
Martin was scheduled to race in 10 of the final 13 races for the Michael Waltrip Racing but was given release from his No. 55 driver duties. Picking up racing duties for Michael Waltrip Racing will be Brian Vickers who was recently named as No. 55’s full-time driver for 2014.
Tony Stewart has missed the past two races after suffering a broken right tibula and fibula during an August 5 sprint car race at Southern Iowa Speedway.
Speculation surrounded whether or not Tony would return this season or choose to fully strengthen himself following the accident. It now appears that he will return in January for preseason testing.
In a statement regarding his decision, Tony Stewart writes:
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be out… for so long, but the team is in very good hands with Mark Martin and Austin Dillon. Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him… 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.”
Mark Martin has some big shoes to fill but an impressive record of his own, which includes 870 Cup starts alongside 40 career wins, 56 poles, 271 top fives, 452 top 10s and 12,879 laps led.
At this time, the No. 14 car is in 13th place in the owner’s points. With two wins Team Stewart could grab a wild card position for the 12-team Chase that starts at Chicagoland Speedway on September 15.
On Sunday, Martin had a chance at claiming the race at Michigan International Speedway in the No. 55 car when it came up short on fuel.