OSKALOOSA, Iowa — Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was hospitalized with a broken leg early Tuesday morning after crashing at a sprint car race in Iowa.
Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning said Stewart sustained a broken right tibia and fibula in a crash at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance, where he underwent surgery.
Stewart will miss at least this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen; Arning said a replacement has not been named and it's unknown how long Stewart will be out overall. A test scheduled for Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway has also been canceled.
The driver/team owner was leading the 30-lap feature of the Front Row Challenge with five laps remaining when Josh Higday's car spun on Turn 4 and collected the top three cars — Stewart, Tasker Phillips and Tony Shilling.
Track officials said Stewart, 42, was conscious and talking to responders after being placed on a stretcher.
Brian Brown raced to victory, holding off Kyle Larson after the restart.
"First and foremost, we're concerned about Tony and making sure he's all right," Brown said. "He's a huge asset to our sport, especially sprint car racing and an icon in the whole motor sports field. Anytime you see him wreck like that and then leave in an ambulance, it's never good. Hopefully he's okay. We weren't going to win that race. We were probably going to run third or fourth."
Brown added: "When I saw the wreck, I turned left and hit an infield tire and kept going. It was just luck."
Asked what he saw of Stewart's situation, Brown said: "It looked like he got into a lapped car. When I got close, he was flipping cage down. I didn't really have time to watch and see what was going on."
Brown went on to explain how he avoided the wreck.
"Luckily we've got good brakes and I was able to turn left and that tire didn't hurt us too much," Brown said. "I plowed one of those tractor tires and just kept going. That was my only choice. It was either that or run into them. I chose the infield."
Larson, one of NASCAR's rising stars, described what he observed when the wreck occurred.
"I didn't see how it happened, I just saw cars going everywhere," Larson said. "I had to duck through the infield and luckily I missed it."
Larson added: "I saw Brian monster truck that tire. I actually clipped the tire before that wreck going into that corner. Luckily it got me out of shape enough to go through the infield."
Larson, 21, is similar to Stewart in that he loves racing anything with four wheels. Larson is among the leaders in the Nationwide Series. Stewart is a former Indy Racing League star and now is among the best in Sprint Cup.
"He grew up racing open-wheel dirt stuff like I've been doing. He's probably the best race car driver ever," Larson said.