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Old 05-29-2006, 02:59 AM
mvbski mvbski is offline
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Default Stewart taken to hospital - again - after Cup wreck

Stewart taken to hospital - again - after Cup wreck
Associated Press

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Tony Stewart was in desperate need of a clean and easy race. The reigning Nextel Cup champion ended up breaking the tip of his right shoulder blade.

Stewart wrecked 33 laps into the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night, apparently because of a flat right tire, and his Chevrolet slammed hard into the wall. It took safety personnel several minutes to help Stewart get out of the car, and he was wincing in pain and favoring his right side when he finally made it through the window.

Stewart was taken directly to the hospital for evaluation. He was seen and released, and a team spokesman said he broke the tip of his right shoulder blade.

Stewart - who slipped to fourth in the standings, 209 points behind Jimmie Johnson - already was nursing a bruised right shoulder from a hard crash Saturday night in the Busch Series race that sent him to the hospital for X-rays. They were negative and Stewart was cleared to compete in the longest race on the NASCAR schedule.

"He's going to be sore - it's the same spot he hit last time," team president J.D. Gibbs said. "There isn't much you can do about it. He needs rest and need to take care of it, ice it, wrap it up real well."

Crew chief Greg Zipadelli was concerned about Stewart's health and stamina before the event began.

"They thought that he had chipped or cracked his scapula bone, but it wasn't that, it was just a bad bruise and swollen," Zipadelli said. "Like a cracked or bruised rib, it just takes time to heal."

So the team put Mike Bliss on standby in case Stewart couldn't make it to the end. With physically demanding tracks on the upcoming schedule, Zipadelli wants Stewart at full strength.

"We've got to look at the big picture right now, and the big picture is that we keep him healthy and in the top five in the points," he said.
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Old 05-30-2006, 11:14 PM
mvbski mvbski is offline
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Default Stewart taken to hospital - again - after Cup wreck

Stewart will start Dover despite shoulder injury
Rudd to qualify No. 20, take over in race if Cup champ can't continue
By David Newton, NASCAR.COM
May 30, 2006

CONCORD, N.C. -- Tony Stewart plans to start Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway after breaking his shoulder blade during multiple crashes last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"That's Tony,'' said Jimmy Makar, the senior vice president for Joe Gibbs Racing during Tuesday's Car of Tomorrow' test at LMS. "We've got to try to start the race for points, even if he just gets out after a few laps.

"I feel like he should be able to do that.''

Rick Rudd, who has won four Cup races at Dover, will practice and qualify Stewart's No. 20 Chevrolet. He will be on standby to relieve the reigning Cup champion, who gets all points toward the driver's championship by starting.

"Tony's injury is unfortunate, and we are going to do everything we can to get him healed up quickly,'' said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "Tony is as tough as they come, but we aren't going to take any chances on making his situation worse.

"We're very appreciative of Ricky Rudd. He's a proven winner who will allow us to stay in contention for the championship.''

Stewart fell from second to fourth in points after leaving Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 following a Lap 33 crash in which he hit the wall hard after his right front tire blew. He was taken to a Charlotte hospital, where doctors determined the tip of the right scapula was fractured.

Stewart was re-evaluated on Tuesday by Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon used by many NASCAR teams. Petty said no surgery will be required.

Makar said X-rays determined the fracture likely occurred on Saturday night when Stewart crashed in the Busch Series race.

A NASCAR official said the fracture likely occurred because Stewart carried more padding in the rib area than the shoulder harness area.

"Usually an injury like that comes from the seat, the design of that area of the seat when he was hit hard on the right side,'' Makar said. "We think we know what it is. We're gonna see if we can get more support on the shoulder instead of the side of the ribs and under the shoulder area.''

This isn't the first time a JGR driver has performed with this type of injury. Bobby Labonte drove the week after breaking his shoulder blade in a Busch race at Darlington in 1999.

"If it's anything like what we saw with Bobby it's more of a pain threshold type of thing,'' said Makar, whose driver went from 93 to 231 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

"As long as he can sustain the pain and we can get local medicine to deaden that area of the back, he'll be OK to drive.''

JGR trainer Al Shuford, formerly with the Carolina Panthers, will be on hand to assist Stewart.

"Basically, we're just going to work with Tony to make him comfortable,'' Shuford said. "As Dr. Petty said, Tony's injury is something that only time and rest can heal.

"But we can help speed up that timetable with a rehabilitation program specific to his injury and his profession.''

Jeff Burton, testing at LMS, said Dover may be the worst track to go with Stewart's injury.

"He'll find a way to do it,'' Burton said of Stewart. "Tony's a tough guy and whatever you want to say about Tony, you can't say he's not a tough guy. Can't say he's not a real racer. He will find a way to do it.''

Asked if such injuries are cause to re-evaluate letting Cup drivers compete in Busch races, Makar laughed and said, "If it was up to Joe [Gibbs] he would have all of his drivers driving the Cup events, period.''
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