Stewart feels ‘zero percentage of pain’ during Daytona practice
High-profile NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is 20 pounds lighter and has a titanium rod in his surgically repaired right leg.
As far as he is concerned, those are the only major changes since an August sprint-car crash left him with two broken bones in his leg. So when the green flag drops Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., for his first race since the accident, Stewart believes it will be the same old “Smoke” behind the wheel.
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If he had any doubts — and he has insisted he doesn’t — they were alleviated by 24 smooth laps in the first of two Friday practice sessions for Saturday’s exhibition Sprint Unlimited.
“Today in the big picture was just another practice day, but obviously it was a little bigger than normal,” he said.
By the end of the day, Stewart drove a total of 50 laps — 125 miles — around Daytona.
“There’s zero percentage of pain in the car. That was nice,” said Stewart, 42. “I thought we would have some kind of ache or pain, but it was like putting on an old pair of shoes again.”
Stewart, who does not have a backup driver at Daytona, has not raced in more than six months. It is an unheard-of amount of time off for a man who makes his money racing in NASCAR yet routinely crisscrossed the country cramming 50 or more weeknight events into his year-round schedule.
Stewart’s layoff was difficult, enhanced by the pain from his broken leg. He had two surgeries for the breaks and a third to treat an infection. He was flat on his back, confined to the first-floor bedroom of his longtime business manager’s house, where he was forced to lay with his leg elevated above his heart. When there was Stewart-Haas Racing business to address, team personnel did it at his bedside.
Stewart required an ambulance to get to doctor appointments, and when he finally was able to get out of bed, he needed a wheelchair to get around.
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Ducre was voted most valuable player.
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Magath, a 60-year-old German who has won three Bundesliga titles as a manager, signed an 18-month contract with Fulham. He has a reputation for brutal training and fitness methods; his nicknames include “Torturer” and “Saddam.”
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