Tony Stewart would not be Tony Stewart if he was not racing every chance he could.Weekends, weekdays.Nights, days.Asphalt, dirt.Everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing knows that, and for years, everyone has lived with it — the knowledge that the boss could wind up hurting himself in one of these extracurricular races one of these days.Everyone was right. Monday night, Stewart broke his leg in a wreck in a sprint car race in Iowa. It’s going to cost him at least three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and, let’s be honest with ourselves, ends his chances at making the Chase and going for a fourth championship.He knew it could happen.In fact, it has happened three times this summer. Last week, Stewart wrecked in a race in Canada and flipped five times. Three weeks ago, he wrecked in Canandaigua, N.Y.But he is the boss. He dared himself not to worry about it, and he told everyone else not to worry about it.“You mortals have got to learn,” Stewart told reporters at Pocono last week after his Sprint Cup practice. “You guys need to watch more sprint car videos and stuff. It was not a big deal. … That was just an average sprint car wreck. When they wreck, they get upside down like that. That was not a big deal.”Stewart believes he is lucky enough to fulfill his passion. He can afford to race any time, anywhere he wants.“It’s like hitting a reset button for me,” he told USA Today in April. “It’s a lot of effort, a lot of money and a lot of time to do all this, but it’s worth it. I’m in a fortunate position where I have the resources to do it, but I also don’t have a wife and children. I have a German Shepherd who doesn’t care where we go. I have the flexibility a lot of these other drivers don’t. But even if they had the time, I’m not sure they’d want to go run 70 dirt races on top of a 38-race Cup schedule. It’s just what I enjoy.”Now, as he recovers from the broken leg, Stewart has to think about how he enjoys what he enjoys. His race organization has to think about how it will treat the boss’ wishes from now on.“Hey, it’s a tough one,” SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli said. “We all know Tony loves to do those races. We know that that’s his golf game, that’s his hunting, his fishing, all the things that the rest of us do. You know, there is a difference in the amount of responsibility we have and obligations to other people, and that’s where I think that’s kind of where it gets sticky.“I think it makes him better at what he does here, but it obviously leaves the door open for a situation that we’re in now. I think we’re probably lucky that this is the first time we’re dealing with this, to be perfectly honest with you.”Stewart will find an explanation for the accident. He will say he knows he can avoid such a serious injury in the future. He will tell everyone again to stop worrying about it.He has to say all of that. He has to get back to racing as much as he can as soon as he can.Tony Stewart would not be Tony Stewart if he couldn’t.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez