Speedway, Indiana - Two major fractures are not enough to keep NASCAR's Tony Stewart out of the driver's seat.
The versatile racer, who fractured his leg in two places in a minor-league dirt track event, has ordered his medical team to position his damaged limb behind his back, so he can continue to compete while his broken bones heal.
"Thank God for that Mobile One commercial that I did with Jenson Button," Stewart said. "It taught me the importance of stretching to keep in shape. That's what keeps me limber enough to work both the gas and the brake pedals with my good leg. We'll let the clutch take care of itself."
Stewart's Sprint Cup competitors don't think that the two-time champ can pull it off. "I don't know what kind of painkillers they're feeding Tony, but he shouldn't be making plans while he's on them," said one veteran driver who asked to remain anonymous.
Actually, the history of motorsports is filled with the tales of injured drivers who asked their surgeons for unique favors. Many wanted their fingers bent on both hands so they could still grip the wheel of a competitive race car.
But the strangest medical motorsports saga involves Leroy "Stumpy" Giles, a talented wheelman who drove for the moonshining bootleggers of the 1950s. Stumpy was convinced that he drove more aggressively when he was drunk. So he had his doctor rig up and hide an IV drip full of moonshine in his racecar. The further he drove, the more intoxicated he became, and the faster he drove.
Sure enough, Stumpy won the next two races. But before he could achieve a third victory, NASCAR had him tested for driving under the influence. He was struck and killed by the pace car, while trying to walk a straight line on a road course. "It was just one of them racing deals," said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "Couldn't be avoided."
Tony Stewart hopes to avoid the wrath of NASCAR officials in his bid to drive with one leg tied behind his back. "I know it sounds like a macho thing to do," Stewart said. "But that's because it is. Now who took my soda cookies?"