Tony Stewart will miss the remainder of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season according to Stewart Haas Racing’s press release Monday afternoon.
The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion has missed the past two races after suffering a broken fibula and tibia in sprint car crash in Iowa on August 5.
Veteran driver Mark Martin, who has driven the No.55 for Michael Waltrip Racing on a part time basis since 2012, will step into Stewart’s No.14 for 12 of the remaining 13 races, starting this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Martin vacates the No.55 car effective immediately, handing the driving duties to the team’s driver for 2014 and beyond; Brian Vickers who won in the car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done the last two seasons and I’m extremely thankful for the effort everyone on my team and at MWR put behind me,” Martin said in a statement.
“I also want to thank Michael Waltrip and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman for giving me this opportunity. They are building a strong organization at MWR and one that’s going to be a force in NASCAR for years to come both on and off the track.”
Like Martin, Vickers will drive in 12 of the remaining 13 races. Michael Waltrip, who races on the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega, will once again drive the car he owns when the series visits Talladega in October.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be out of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy for so long, but the team is in very good hands with Mark Martin and Austin Dillon,” Stewart said in a statement issued by the team. “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
“Austin is a great young talent, and he showed that Sunday at Michigan. Greg Zipadelli, Steve Addington (crew chief) and everybody at SHR supports them 100 percent. 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 into my Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy.”
The one race Martin will not drive is Talladega. Austin Dillon, who drove the No.14 to a 14th place finish Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, will race at the Alabama oval.
“After consulting with Tony’s doctors and speaking with Tony, we agreed it was best for him to focus on his recovery,” said Greg Zipadelli, SHR competition director.
“For the No. 14 team, our focus is on positioning them for a run at the owner championship. Mark Martin and Austin Dillon give us the best opportunity to do that, and we certainly appreciate Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing for making Mark and Austin available to us.”
Updates on this developing story will be posted when they become available.