By AMANDA VINCENT
When Stewart-Haas Racing made its announcement on Thursday, giving specific details of team co-owner and driver Tony Stewart’s back injury that was sustained in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Sunday and that will keep him out of his No. 14 Chevrolet for the start of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, there was no definitive date set for Stewart’s return.
While there still is no definitive date for Stewart’s return to the driver’s seat, the three-time Sprint Cup champion and SHR have a goal date of May 21, according to a blog post from NASCAR radio broadcaster Dave Moody. That’s the day of the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It just so happens that All-Star Race day in 2015 was the date of Kyle Busch’s return to his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after being sidelined the first 11 races of the season by leg and foot fractures. Stewart’s actual return will be determined by the pace of his rehabilitation.
Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra Jan. 31. He underwent surgery Feb. 3, and according to sources referred to by Moody in his blog, Stewart was walking by Feb. 5.
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