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Dec 3, 2014 1:29 PM

Tony Stewart has 4th surgery on right leg

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) Tony Stewart has undergone a fourth surgery on the leg he broke last year during a sprint car race in Iowa.

Stewart was released from a hospital on Wednesday. He was then headed to Las Vegas to celebrate Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick's championship.

Stewart broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg during the Aug. 5, 2013, crash and underwent two surgeries immediately after the accident, including one to insert a metal rod inside the tibia.

A third surgery last year was to close a wound on his shin. Stewart spokesman Mike Arning called Monday's surgery in Charlotte, North Carolina, the equivalent of routine maintenance.

Arning said Stewart will be on crutches in Las Vegas, where he will attend an industry-wide luncheon on Thursday and the season-ending awards ceremony that will fete Harvick.

Harvick won his first career championship in his first season driving for SHR, the team co-owned by Stewart. It was Stewart who lured Harvick to SHR with the promise he could win a championship driving for his good friend.

Because of the surgery, Stewart will defer team owner duties to co-owner Gene Haas. SHR will have Haas sit with Harvick at the head table and handle speaking duties, while Stewart planned to sit in the audience.

The three-time NASCAR champion missed the final 15 races of last season before returning to competition in February. He walked with a noticeable limp all season, but insisted his leg felt at its best when he was in the car. Still, his performance was below-par and his 15-year winning streak ended at last month's season finale. Stewart finished 25th in the final standings and missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for the second consecutive year, third time since its 2004 inception.

Stewart sat out three races this year following the Aug. 9 accident in which Kevin Ward Jr. was killed when he was struck by Stewart's sprint car during a dirt track race in New York.

He was a shell of his former self following his return and struggled to get his performance up to par. But, he still managed to celebrate after the finale when Harvick gave Stewart-Haas Racing its second title in four years. Stewart has now won two championships as a car owner, with his 2011 title as driver/owner the first for SHR.


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