Greg Murphy's #51 Pepsi Max Commodore Photo credit: Kelly Racing/BAMMedia

Greg Murphy's #51 Pepsi Max Commodore Photo credit: Kelly Racing/BAMMedia

Greg Murphy will not race in the Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway this weekend due to surgery on a re-occurring back injury.

The Pepsi Max Crew driver first suffered the back injury in August 2010, but suffered a relapse in a qualifying crash at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide when he made contact with the rear of Jonathon Webb's slow moving car.

Murphy drove on at the Australian Grand Prix event two weeks ago, but discomfort following the Albert Park event led him to seek medical examination.

“After seeing my surgeon last week and then with the way my body has reacted on the weekend after not really doing anything I knew something wasn't right,” said the four-time Bathurst 1000 winner.

“It's attributed to the accident that happened in Adelaide. It’s put too much pressure on the disc and a tear has formed and finally its ruptured open on Friday or Saturday and so after an MRI on Tuesday afternoon the surgeons are getting me into surgery on Wednesday afternoon to repair it before it gets worse.

“My surgeon is under no doubt that it was caused by the impact at Adelaide. I’m very disappointed.”

Murphy is confident that he will return for his home event in Hamilton, New Zealand on 20-22 April.

“I’ve got no doubt about that at all. The doctor is very confident that once we take care of this issue, it will fall back into place nicely and we can carry on.”

Dunlop Series regular David Russell will replace Murphy in the Kelly Racing backed #51 Pepsi Max Crew Commodore.

Russell, who drove last year for Kelly Racing in the endurance races and currently competes for Dreamtime Racing (which has a technical partnership with Kelly Racing) is excited at the prospect of his first single-driver V8 Supercars Championship event start and his first at Symmons Plains Raceway.

“I was very surprised to get the phone call,” said Russell.

“Obviously I have to thank Todd, Rick, Kelly Racing and Pepsi Max for the opportunity in what are tough circumstances.

“I feel sorry for Murph and I obviously wish him a speedy recovery.

“It’s a great opportunity to join the main series. It’s all happened very quickly so I will have to work hard over the next few days with Todd, Rick, Karl and all the engineers to come up to speed.

“I’ll be doing my best to get the Pepsi Max car in a strong position this weekend, as I'd love to reward the team with some fantastic results.”