Stewart-Haas Racing announced Thursday that Tony Stewart has been cleared by his doctors and NASCAR to return to racing, effective immediately. Stewart who missed the first eight races of the season will drive the Chevrolet SS fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing throughout this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway.
Stewart sustained a back injury in a non-racing accident on January 31. Stewart suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident. The L1 is the smallest and most superior of the lumbar vertebrae and is located in the lower back. It bears the weight of the upper body. Stewart underwent an operation and extensive rehabilitation. He had an one of several medical evaluations on March 9 and the three-time series champion was cleared to return for his final Sprint Cup season.
“As soon as the doctors said they were happy with my scans, I wasn’t going to wait any longer to get back in my racecar,” said Stewart, who announced last year that he would retire after the 2016 season. “I want to make the most of my last season in Sprint Cup, and I’ve been on the sidelines long enough.”