Daytona Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Tony Stewart is eager to get back in
the race car and has no plans for a relief driver this weekend at Daytona
Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup Series champion, is expected to drive his No.
14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in Friday and Saturday's practice sessions,
Saturday night's preseason race -- The Sprint Unlimited -- and Sunday's
qualifying for the Daytona 500.
It will be Stewart's first time back in a race car since he suffered a broken
right leg in an accident during a sprint car race last August in Oskaloosa,
Iowa. He missed the final 15 races of the 2013 season.
"I'm excited about it," Stewart said during Thursday's Daytona 500 Media Day
at Daytona International Speedway. "It's been a long time since August 5th.
Normally, we're talking about the offseason, and it just seems like it flies
by. But this has been the slowest offseason that I've ever had. I'm ready to
get going again."
Stewart underwent three surgeries to repair his leg, including one where a
metal rod was inserted inside his fractured tibia. He's had months of physical
"All of my therapy has been going really well, especially I would say in the
last two weeks," he said. "I feel like we've made really huge gains. I don't
know how we could be more prepared, honestly, than where we are right now. In
a perfect scenario, everything would be healed 100 percent, and we wouldn't
even be talking about it. My bone is about 65 percent healed right now."
Last month, Mark Martin drove Stewart's No. 14 car during preseason testing at
Daytona. Martin also substituted for Stewart in the car in 12 of the last 13
races this past season.
Stewart is one of 18 drivers competing in The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona,
which is a 75-lap, 187.5-mile race. He has won it three times.
"I feel confident enough that we're not going to have to worry about
anything," Stewart said. "We've planned for everything that we think might or
could go wrong. And when I say, 'go wrong,' it's not going to be anything
that's going to take me out of the race car. It's a matter of trying to make
everything absolutely as comfortable as possible."
The Sports Network