Stewart to miss start of final season

(AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Tony Stewart will miss the start of his final NASCAR season after fracturing his back in an accident on an all-terrain vehicle, Stewart-Haas Racing said Thursday.

The three-time NASCAR champion sustained a "burst fracture of the L1 vertebra" when he crashed on an ATV Sunday and he had surgery Wednesday, the team said. A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but SHR said he is expected to make a full recovery and race this year.

Drivers report to Daytona next week to begin preparations for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 21. An interim driver for the No. 14 Chevrolet was not named Thursday.

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