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Indiana Native Tony Stewart Won’t be 100% for Daytona 500

Eric Smith
ISR Senior Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, FL- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for their annual preseason testing today and tomorrow. One driver not participating in the test but will be at the Florida superspeedway next month competiting for the Daytona 500 is Indiana native Tony Stewart.

Stewart, still isn’t quite healed enough to be behind the wheel of his No. 14 Stewart/Haas Chevrolet, but knows he will be back in the car come next month in search for his first Daytona 500 crown.

“I feel pretty good, said the two-time Brickyard 400 champion. “I still have a little ways to go, but we’ve got four weeks to get ready the rest of the way.”

Stewart, doesn’t expect to be 100-percent though when he’s back here next month but will give it his all to start off the year on a bright spot instead of digging himself in the hole early on.

“Even when we get here in February, it’s not going to be 100 percent, said the 42-year old Columbus, Indiana native. “Physically I’m not going to feel 100 percent, but I’ll be able to do my job 100 percent, so that’s the main thing. I don’t mind it taking a little longer for the physical side to heal, as long as I can drive a race car when I need to when I get back.”

The reason why Stewart isn’t 100-percent is he suffered a broken leg in a Sprint Car race the next day after the Sprint Cup Series race in Pocono. Stewart, was involved in a multi-car crash when a lapped car spun in front of him. The hit was hard enough that Stewart broke both the tibia and fibula bones in his lower right leg. That caused him to have season ending surgery which kept him out the rest of the NASCAR season.

The crash caused a huge controversy that people were questioning why he’s even in a Sprint Car instead of focusing on the NASCAR side of things. He said in his media availability today that he will in fact still race sprint cars and even has funding to do so.

“We haven’t even worked on a schedule for my sprint car.  I’m going to run races.  We’ve got a sponsor for it.  We’re going to go ahead and run, we just are kind of playing it by ear right now.”

He reiterated, “As far as percentages, I’m 100 percent confident when I get here in February I’ll be fine to drive and race and be able to do everything I need to do.  Today I can’t sit here and say I’m 100 percent, but I’ve got four more weeks, and four weeks to go, I’m a lot further along now than I was four weeks ago, so I’m confident when we come back I’ll be fine.  It’s hard to know when you get in the car 100 percent.  But I feel like I could get in the car and drive right now.  I just don’t know, like Holly (Cain) said, about my stamina yet.  I’m kind of curious to know about my stamina, as well.

Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report covering Racing and the college basketball beat. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing. He’s also covered college basketball and the NFL for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports over the last four years. Follow Eric and the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.

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