Tony Stewart said Friday that he has no idea when he will return to racing and does not know what condition his injured back is in.
Stewart, appearing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said he will get x-rays next Wednesday in Charlotte for his injured back. That should give him an idea of its condition.
The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and driver/co-owner of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebrae Jan. 31 during the crash of a sand rail in the desert near the Southern California-Arizona border.
Subsequently, Stewart had surgery to stabilize his back, but next week will be his first examination since the surgery was completed.
"I wish I knew," Stewart said when asked by FOXSports.com about the condition of his injured back.
Stewart said doctors told him he should only be walking or laying flat on his back and they did not want him to fly cross-country to Las Vegas.
"I’m definitely breaking the rules," said Stewart. "They didn’t want me flying out here, they didn’t want me in Atlanta, but I can’t lay in bed any longer. It’s about to kill me."
Then, he added, "We did everything short of bubble-wrap me to get me on the plane to ride out here. We were as comfortable as we could be. We feel pretty good, actually. It’s like anything else. Your body tells you when you’ve had enough, when it’s sore. And we try to listen to it."
Stewart is expected to make a full recovery, but the timing remains uncertain. And he admitted he wasn’t sure if being at the track was a good idea.
"I don’t know if being here is helping me or hurting me," Stewart said. "…I’d rather be here in pain than be comfortable at home."
He confirmed that Ty Dillon and Brian Vickers will continue to split time behind the wheel of the No. 14 until his return, and reiterated he will not race in the Daytona 500 in the future after missing it this year, his last season before retirement.
"Not even 1 percent considering," Stewart said of entering the 500 again.