Stewart: Ready to race full-time again

The arrangement between Tony Stewart and Ty Dillon last weekend at Talladega worked out pretty well, with Dillon steering the No. 14 car to a sixth-place finish after Stewart drove the first 52 laps.

Stewart, though, is eager to get back to handling things on his own for the rest of the season.

The Columbus native, whose final NASCAR Sprint Cup season got off to a late start due to an offseason back injury, will be going start to finish tonight in the GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Though he passed the wheel to Dillon last week as a precaution, Stewart says his back actually feels better now than it did before his Jan. 31 accident on the dunes of California.

“I felt really good after Richmond (two weeks ago),” Stewart said. “We could have lined everyone up and raced again, and I would have been fine.”

Stewart has enjoyed success at Kansas before, winning there in 2006 and 2009, and posting nine top-10 finishes in 19 starts. He has not fared as well since the track underwent a bit of a facelift in 2012, with no finishes higher than fifth place.

He said he’s hoping for a better result this week and is eager to have his car to himself for the rest of the season as he hunts down a spot in the Chase for the Cup. Currently 38th in the points standings, Stewart will need to win at least one race and finish in the top 30 in points to make the cut.

“I’m ready to get back in full-time,” Stewart said. “I have a great crew and car and think we can show everyone that this weekend.”

Tony's final lap

TODAY’S RACE

GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway, 7:30 p.m. (Fox)

Starting position: ???

LAST WEEK

Finished 6th in GEICO 500 at Talladega

CHASE FOR THE CUP

Last week: 35 points

Season total: 57 points (38th)

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.