By JENNA FRYER
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart does not consider the Daytona 500 a disaster, despite the engine problems that spoiled his return to racing from a broken right leg.
The 3-time NASCAR champion wound up 35th in the season-opening race but logged enough laps during Speedweeks that he feels good going into the upcoming stretch of seven consecutive races. Stewart missed the final 15 races last year after breaking his leg in two places during a sprint car crash in Iowa.
His first time back in a race car was Feb. 14, the day before he competed — and was crashed out of — the exhibition Sprint Unlimited. He also raced in the Budweiser Duel before the 500, giving him 672 miles of racing in three events.
Stewart goes to Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway "a lot more confident than I was before we got to Daytona."