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Tony Stewart hospitalized with back injury in all-terrain vehicle accident

Steve Letarte talks about how devastating it would be if Tony Stewart is unable to participate in his final Daytona 500, which is less than three weeks away.

Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was hospitalized after injuring his back in a non-racing accident Sunday afternoon, his Stewart-Haas Racing team said in a statement Tuesday.

The team said Stewart, who is entering the final season of his NASCAR career, was transported to a hospital following the accident and currently is being evaluated. Per the SHR release, Stewart is awake and alert and able to move all extremities. Another update isn’t expected until Thursday afternoon.

A team spokesman said Stewart was injured in an all-terrain vehicle on the West Coast.

A broken right leg in a sprint car race sidelined Stewart, 44, from the final 15 races of the 2013 season, and he also missed three races in 2014 after a sprint car he was driving struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. He started every race last season, which was the worst of his career with three top 10s and a 28th-place finish in the points standings.

NASCAR released a statement from Chairman Brian France about Stewart’s injury:
We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart’s accident and injury. 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.

The full release from the team:

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a back injury in a non-racing accident Sunday afternoon.

Stewart was transported to a local hospital following the accident and is currently being evaluated. Stewart is awake and alert, and able to move all extremities. An update will be provided Thursday afternoon when more information is known.