Updated 03:06 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 22, 2021

Tony Stewart Return: Nascar Racer 'Pain-Free' and Ready to Start New Season

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After 18 months of suffering from an injury and dealing with a race accident that killed a young driver, Tony Stewart is now back on the racetracks "pain-free" and ready to start a new season.

''When they counted down to the end of 2014, I was never so happy to see that number go off the calendar. I am ready to put the last two years behind me and never look back, not look in the mirror, not talking about it, not thinking about it. I am going back to being me again,'' Stewart was quoted as saying by AP Sports.

He is expected to begin racing again next month at the Daytona International Speedway aboard his No. 14 Chevrolet vehicle for the first time since November when his winning streak ended.

According to AP Sports, the racer had to undergo surgery on his right leg which broke two years ago during a car crash in Iowa which totally affected him and brought him a lot of pain. He is expected to undergo another surgery this year.

''Most of the pain is gone and I am walking better than I have since I had the accident. Trust me, I can promise you, I am way healed up for what I need to do this year and it's not going to be a factor in any race this season," he added.

Stewart also mentioned in a USA Today article that he was involved in some of the preparations during some races, that's why even if he was not competing during his recovery period, it was not "hard at all".

"If you look at the role I played, I had 330 guys who relied on me and three other guys to give them a great racetrack each night. I was just as competitive doing track prep as I was being in a race car. I enjoyed the pressure that was behind it. There was a lot of pressure to make sure we got it right."

Aside from his injury, Ward also had an emotional blow on his life when he hit and killed young driver Kevin Ward Jr. at a New York state dirt track last August. This was a life-changing event for the racer, who according to AP Sports, had to seclude himself for three weeks to cope with that happened.

A month after the accident, a grand jury decided not to charge Stewart for Ward's death and it was only that time when the racer decided to move on with his life and tried to bring the swag back into his racing personality.

AP Sports also noted that on his latest appearance on Tuesday, Stewart seemed to have lost a lot of weight which could be due to his coping with the recent happenings in his life and career.

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