Tony Stewart was involved in a non-racing-related all-terrain vehicle accident Saturday that left him with a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra, per Autosport. Unfortunately, Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed today that Stewart will miss the start of his final NASCAR Sprint Cup season to recover from the injury.

The full team statement reads as follows:

Unfortunately, missing the start of the season also means that Stewart will also miss one final shot at the legendary Daytona 500.

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Autosport reports that Stewart flipped his ATV outside of San Diego, where he was then airlifted to the hospital. Fortunately, Stewart was awake, alert and able to move his outer extremities after the crash, however, the severity of the location means that he’ll be recovering for quite a while.

Stewart was transferred to a hospital closer to home in Charlotte on Tuesday and underwent back surgery on Wednesday.

Per the Stewart-Haas Racing team statement on the incident, they expect to see Stewart return to his car at some point in 2016, but no one is sure just when yet.

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Furthermore, no interim drivers have been announced yet for Stewart’s seat, however, Fox Sports speculates that the team may call on some of the JR Motorsports Xfinity Series drivers, as the two teams both work closely with the Hendrick Motorsports team. Alternately, they may pick a Sprint Cup driver who has been left without a ride this year, such as David Gilliland, Sam Hornish Jr., or Reed Sorenson.

You gotta feel bad for Smoke on this one.

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Photo credit: Getty Images


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.