Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has been hospitalized after suffering a back injury in a non-racing accident Sunday, Stewart-Haas Racing said in a statement Tuesday.
Stewart, 44, injured himself while driving an all-terrain vehicle on the West Coast, an SHR spokesman confirmed to SB Nation in an email. The extent of Stewart's injuries are not known, only that he was transported to a local hospital following the accident and is currently under evaluation, awake and alert and able to move all extremities.
An additional update will be provided Thursday when more information is known, SHR said.
Stewart is retiring from full-time NASCAR competition following the conclusion of the 2016 season, which begins Feb. 21 with the Daytona 500. He has never won NASCAR's marquee race in 17 attempts and has said it is one of his goals before retiring.
"We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart's accident and injury," NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France said in a statement. "On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he's ready to return."
The co-owner of SHR, which also fields entries for Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick, Stewart has experienced a tumultuous few years. In August 2013, he broke his right leg in two places in a sprint car accident at an Iowa dirt track. He missed the final 15 races of the NASCAR season rehabilitating before returning for the start of the 2014 season.
In August 2014, Stewart was competing in a sprint car race in Upstate New York when he struck and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr. with the right-rear wheel of his car. Ward, 20, was on foot and walking on the track after being involved in an accident with Stewart.
A grand jury cleared Stewart of any criminal wrongdoing, but Ward's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart last August, nearly one year to the day of the accident. The case is pending.
Coinciding with Stewart's many troubles is a pronounced decrease in performance. Since capturing the 2011 Cup Series championship, he's won just four premier division races and failed to qualify for NASCAR's playoffs the past three years. Last season, he recorded just three top-10 finishes in 36 races and ranked 28th in points.
Stewart announced last September that 2016 would be his last season, saying he planned to focus on competing in various dirt sprint car races throughout the country.