Kyle Fowler set to make Sprint Cup debut at Martinsville
22-year-old has made 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts MORE: Full entry list for Martinsville RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Kyle Fowler will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway . Fowler will drive the No. 32 Ford for owner Frank Stoddard Jr. and GO FAS Racing. Eight other drivers have taken turns behind the wheel of the No. 32 car: Travis Kvapil (16 races), Terry Labonte (four races), Blake Koch (three races), J.J. Yeley (three races), Boris Said (two races), Joey Gase (two races), Timmy Hill (one race) and Eddie MacDonald (one race). Labonte's 11th-place finish in the rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July has been the team's best finish so far this season. The 22-year-old Georgia native has 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts in his career, including one this year in the spring at Charlotte Motor Speedway . He finished 32nd in the History 300 . The Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 is set for Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kyle Busch's special M&M's paint scheme revealed
The M&M's brand celebrates its 75-year anniversary this year, and Mars, Inc., has some special celebrations planned -- that includes a retro paint scheme for Kyle Busch 's No. 18 Toyota at Daytona International Speedway . The classic yellow look was revealed Wednesday on Facebook, via the M&M's Racing account. Pretty spiffy! Here she is straight from the garages at Joe Gibbs Racing - the retro M&M'S 75th Anniversary paint scheme we'll be running down in Daytona! Posted by M&M's Racing with Kyle Busch on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Fowler makes hard contact
Kyle Fowler makes hard contact the wall during the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway
Hamlin, Larson top Sprint Unlimited practices
RELATED: Full field for Sprint Unlimited PRACTICE 2 Denny Hamlin was lightning fast, his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota topping the speed charts early and staying there in Friday's final Sprint Unlimited practice at Daytona International Speedway . Hamlin's top speed of 198.930 mph was more than 3 mph faster than second-place Clint Bowyer , whose No. 15 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet clocked in at 195.253 mph. Aric Almirola was next on the leaderboard in the final of two sessions, wheeling the iconic No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports at 194.885 mph. Brian Vickers -- who was announced as the substitute for injured Tony Stewart at Daytona -- was fourth-fastest in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet (194.805 mph), while fellow SHR wheelman Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 194.763 mph. After finishing 11th in the opening practice, last season's Sprint Unlimited winner Matt Kenseth elected not to hit the track in the final practice. Martin Truex Jr ., Casey Mears and Greg Biffle also did not make runs in the second session. Kyle Larson , who topped practice earlier on Friday, came up 19th in the final session, his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet reaching a top speed of 190.456 mph. Friday's practices marked Larson's first on-track action with new crew chief Chad Johnston, who called the shots for Tony Stewart last season. Several drivers -- including Larson, Carl Edwards and AJ Allmendinger -- elected to run outside of the pack, bringing down their speeds from the rest of the field. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET for practice (FS1). FULL PRACTICE RESULTS Pos Car Driver Speed 1 11 Denny Hamlin 198.930 2 15 Clint Bowyer 195.253 3 43 Aric Almirola 194.885 4 14 Brian Vickers 194.805 5 4 Kevin Harvick 194.763 6 41 Kurt Busch 194.611 7 10 Danica Patrick 194.527 8 27 Paul Menard 194.342 9 3 Austin Dillon 194.280 10 2 Brad Keselowski 193.665 11 22 Joey Logano 193.320 12 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 192.316 13 5 Kasey Kahne 192.258 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 191.881 15 48 Jimmie Johnson 191.873 16 18 Kyle Busch 191.160 17 1 Jamie McMurray 190.690 18 31 Ryan Newman 190.517 19 42 Kyle Larson 190.456 20 47 AJ Allmendinger 189.155 21 19 Carl Edwards 75.517 PRACTICE 1 Kyle Larson wheeled his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at 199.344 mph around a sunny Daytona International Speedway on Friday, topping the first practice of the Sprint Unlimited and the 2016 season. Hendrick Motorsports ' Kasey Kahne was next on the leaderboard, clocking in at 199.159 mph in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, while Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin came up third on the charts (199.067 mph). Richard Childress Racing 's Paul Menard and Joe Gibbs Racing 's Carl Edwards rounded out the top five with top speeds of 198.979 mph and 198.715 mph, respectively. Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch wheeled his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing machine around the track at 198.623 mph to earn the sixth-fastest speed in the 25-car field. Filling in for the injured Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, Brian Vickers was seventh-fastest in practice, earning a top speed of 198.295 mph. Jimmie Johnson , who won the pole position during the random drawing earlier in the day, was 23rd-fastest, clocking in at 190.892 mph after staying out of the drafting pack. Aric Almirola 's No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford rolled off the grid at 5 p.m. ET, signaling the first car on track of the 2016 season. He ultimately came up 15th on the leaderboard. Per crew chief Cole Pearn's instructions not to run in the pack, Martin Truex Jr . was the final driver to make his way onto the track, rolling off the grid with about 10 minutes remaining in the 55-minute session. He finished 22nd in the session (192.020 mph) in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. FULL PRACTICE RESULTS Pos Car Driver Speed 1 42 Kyle Larson 199.344 2 5 Kasey Kahne 199.159 3 11 Denny Hamlin 199.067 4 27 Paul Menard 198.979 5 19 Carl Edwards 198.715 6 18 Kyle Busch 198.623 7 14 Brian Vickers 198.295 8 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 198.085 9 47 AJ Allmendinger 197.807 10 10 Danica Patrick 197.785 11 20 Matt Kenseth 197.754 12 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 197.529 13 16 Greg Biffle 197.451 14 2 Brad Keselowski 197.286 15 43 Aric Almirola 197.234 16 1 Jamie McMurray 197.191 17 13 Casey Mears 197.096 18 22 Joey Logano 197.092 19 4 Kevin Harvick 196.911 20 15 Clint Bowyer 196.777 21 3 Austin Dillon 196.592 22 78 Martin Truex Jr . 192.020 23 48 Jimmie Johnson 190.892 24 31 Ryan Newman 190.375 25 41 Kurt Busch 190.026
Johnson lands pole position for Sprint Unlimited
RELATED: At-track photos at Daytona " DIS through the years On-track action for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has begun. With drivers itching to get back inside their race cars, the lineup for the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway has arrived. Crew chiefs drew their drivers' starting positions for the race on Friday -- the Sprint Unlimited (75 laps, 187.5 miles) is set for the green flag Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Crew chief Chad Knaus landed the prime position for Jimmie Johnson , who will start from the pole position. Johnson has visited Victory Lane at the 2.5-mile track three times in his career. Joining Johnson's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on the front row will be Brad Keselowski in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford. The No. 47 Chevrolet of AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top three. Kyle Larson will hit the grid in the fourth position in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman will line up in the fifth spot. And the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is starting ninth. Complete lineup for Sprint Unlimited: 1. Jimmie Johnson 2. Brad Keselowski 3. AJ Allmendinger 4. Kyle Larson 5. Ryan Newman 6. Casey Mears 7. Martin Truex Jr . 8. Clint Bowyer 9. Kyle Busch 10. Austin Dillon 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 12. Danica Patrick 13. Matt Kenseth 14. Paul Menard 15. Denny Hamlin 16. Greg Biffle 17. Aric Almirola 18. Brian Vickers 19. Carl Edwards 20. Kasey Kahne 21. Kurt Busch 22. Kevin Harvick 23. Dale Earnhardt Jr . 24. Jamie McMurray 25. Joey Logano
Logano, Dale Jr. lead Saturday Daytona 500 practices
RELATED: See at-track photos from Saturday's practice Practice 2 recap " Full results Team Penske showed its strength in Saturday's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice in preparation for next Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway as both Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the closing seconds of the two-hour session. Claiming the fastest speed of 195.933 mph, Logano led a draft involving Keselowski and Ryan Blaney on his last run of 29 laps. Logano is the reigning Daytona 500 winner and was second-fastest in opening practice. Keselowski was packed in the middle of the draft and came out second-fastest at 195.848 mph. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Blaney tagged along in the Ford-only draft and was third-fastest with a speed of 195.797 mph. The trio got together to ensure Blaney put down a fast practice time in case rain threatens Daytona 500 qualifying and the Can-Am Duels -- Blaney drives for Wood Brothers Racing , which does not have a Charter and must qualify into the race. Kurt Busch sat atop the leaderboard for a majority of practice, but was knocked off late and was fourth-fastest at 194.877 mph. Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was fifth-fastest in the closing session at 194.696 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr . led Saturday's opening session, but came up 11th-fastest in the final practice round with a speed of 193.823 mph. Follow Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday, Feb. 14 at 1:15 p.m. ET (FOX). The Daytona 500 will run Sunday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX). Practice 1 recap " Full results Dale Earnhardt Jr . led Saturday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice session in preparation for next Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . The Hendrick Motorsports driver laid down his fastest speed of 194.116 mph on Lap 11, the No. 88 driver's final run of the practice round. Earnhardt has won the Daytona 500 twice in his 16 attempts. Second-fastest to Junior was last year's Daytona 500 winner, Joey Logano , at 193.853 mph. Matt Kenseth (193.782 mph), Chase Elliott (193.586 mph) and Kasey Kahne (193.582 mph) completed the top-five fastest on the leaderboard. This is rookie Elliott's first Daytona 500 showing and his first practice behind the wheel of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was 11th-fastest in the opening session at 193.087 mph. Tune-in at 1:30 p.m. ET for the final Daytona 500 practice of Saturday. The Daytona 500 will run Sunday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX).
Denny Hamlin wins Sprint Unlimited in overtime finish
RELATED: Full race results " Photos from Sprint Unlimited DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Saturday's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway ended with a mere handful of cars undamaged -- and race winner Denny Hamlin 's Toyota wasn't one of them. But Hamlin got his wreck out of the way early in a two-car incident with Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s Ford on Lap 12 and won the race in overtime with a large swatch of silver tape on the right side of his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Camry. Hamlin triumphed in the season-opening non-points event for the second time in three years (and third time overall) and gave JGR its fourth Sprint Unlimited victory in the last five years. Under NASCAR's new overtime rules, which require the leader to reach an overtime line on the backstretch under green on the restart lap before the race is official, the event ended under caution for a six-car wreck in Turn 1. LEARN MORE: 'Overtime line' part of tweaked G-W-C procedure The overtime extended the race four laps past its scheduled distance, and, by then, Hamlin had a comfortable lead -- if any lead on a superspeedway can be considered comfortable. Joey Logano came home second, Paul Menard third and Kyle Larson fourth in a race that saw only four of the 25 cars avoid wrecks that collectively produced seven cautions for 25 laps. Hamlin chose the outside line for the final restart, abandoning help from JGR teammate Matt Kenseth , who restarted fourth in the outside line. "It was just such a dilemma for me to figure out what lane to start in," Hamlin said. "I had gotten good pushes from Matt all night long, and I hated leaving him in that top line, but I felt like I'd had success on the bottom all night, and I didn't want to leave it for that final restart." A wild seven-car crash on Lap 22 severely damaged the cars of several pre-race favorites, including the No. 88 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr . In his first competitive run as a substitute for injured Tony Stewart , Brian Vickers spun while barreling into Turn 1 after his right rear tire went flat. Vickers's spin ignited the wreck that also crippled the cars of Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick , Clint Bowyer and also involved the Ford of Greg Biffle and the Chevrolet of AJ Allmendinger . Vickers' Chevrolet took a hard hit against the outside SAFER barrier, but the driver of the No. 14 appeared unhurt in the incident. "I cut a right rear tire," Vickers said after exiting the infield care center. "It's unfortunate. I don't know how I cut the tire. I had a little contact. Everyone was racing hard. It's the Sprint Unlimited, right? That's what it's all about. The 18 ( Kyle Busch ) and I got together early on, going four-wide. Had a little rub but it went away so we thought everything was fine. RELATED: Vickers brings out the 'Big One' at Daytona "The 2 ( Brad Keselowski ) and I got together a little bit right there on the front stretch going into (Turn) 1. Maybe that was it. I just don't know. It was a cut of some kind. It's just unfortunate." Lap 43 marked the end of the race for Jimmie Johnson , who spun on the backstretch after contact with the No. 13 Chevy of Casey Mears and tore the front fascia of his No. 48 Chevrolet while sliding across the bus stop chicane used in the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race. But Johnson had run near the front up to that point, and crew chief Chad Knaus was pleased with the effort. "We learned a little bit tonight," Knaus said, with a tone of voice that suggested he had actually learned quite a bit. "Thanks, everybody. Good dress rehearsal."
Fantasy Daytona 500 grand marshal: Who we'd want to give the command
RELATED: Griffey Jr. named grand marshal " John Cena to drive pace car Daytona 500 dignitaries are being named. Ken Griffey Jr. will be the honorary starter. John Cena will drive the pace car. It all got us thinking -- if we could pick anybody in the world, living or dead, to be the grand marshal for the "Great American Race," who would it be? Here are NASCAR.com's staff picks. Pat DeCola Abraham Lincoln -- I'll be honest (you know, like Abe), as cool as Lincoln is, I'm only picking him because I know he knows how to fill time in a pinch. Four score and seven rain delays ago ... RJ Kraft Christopher Walken -- The man has a unique and famous delivery ("More cowbell," anyone?) that is just begging for this spot. He has countless celebrity impersonators from Kevin Spacey to Kevin Pollak to Bradley Cooper but nothing matches the original. Maggie McKenzie Oprah Winfrey -- This one was an obvious choice thanks to her incredible intelligence, powerful presence and, most importantly, that signature voice. And who knows, maybe she’ll be the first commander to hand out gifts to the fans of some of her favorite things? Brad Norman Mel Blanc -- The "Man of a Thousand Voices" most famously known as Bugs Bunny also voiced such classic characters as Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Barney Rubble -- he'd put on quite a show ... as many characters. Jessica Ruffin Paul "Bear" Bryant -- What better person to give the command of the "Great American Race" than a man who embodies America's beloved game of college football? Bonus points if the Bear's hat matches Kyle Larson 's plaid paint scheme. Kathy Sheldon James Earl Jones -- He has the best voice in the history of recorded sound. I'm certain he could make it roar across Daytona International Speedway 's 180-acre infield and through the stands. And when Jones gives you a command, you follow it. Taylor Starer Beyoncé -- If you get the opportunity to incorporate Beyoncé into NASCAR, you take it. "Queen B" has got the pipes to take on the Daytona 500 command -- that's for sure -- and while she's there, might as well get her to sing the National Anthem. George Winkler Keith Richards -- Because even if we couldn't understand what he was saying it would be combined with a great guitar riff that would more than salvage the moment. Plus, chances are it would be way cooler than if Paul McCartney did i t . @nascarcasm Sean Penn -- Because then whatever international fugitive he brings with him can give the command along with him and then the authorities can capture him and it'll be a huge story.
Daytona rises even higher from beach sand
RELATED: Daytona through the years " Full Speedweeks schedule DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Lesa France Kennedy and her uncle Jim France clutched a giant pair of scissors and officially cut the ribbon inside the new-look, re-imagined Daytona International Speedway last month, flashing wide smiles and knowing eyes. When these same International Speedway Corporation executives first broke ground on the $400 million Daytona Rising project more than two years ago, Kennedy promised, "We are truly creating history with this unprecedented endeavor." So even as she and France took their positions and prepared for the ceremonial dedication, the pair couldn't contain their excitement -- it was palpable as they continually stole glimpses across the vast new open-air concourse, out to the track below and even toward the famous beach in the distance where Jim's father and Lesa's grandfather Bill France Sr.'s stock car racing idea first flourished 60 years ago. It was ironic that the actual ribbon cutting on the facility occurred on a rare breezy, rainy, chilly day in Daytona Beach, because the people who attended were joyful and oblivious to the weather. Huge crowds line the dunes to watch Daytona racing in 1949 There was history to make. The Daytona Rising project has been touted as a "re-imagining," and its finished look is nothing short of transformative. Even the new nomenclature of the speedway sounds impressive -- from its "injectors" outside to its "neighborhoods" inside. Previous modifications to the track have been for the thrill of competition and the safety of the racers. This massive investment is foremost for the comfort and pleasure of the loyal fans, and it will be evident this week as people begin arriving for NASCAR's season-opening events at Daytona Speedweeks, which culminate with the Feb. 21 Daytona 500 . RELATED: Buy tickets for the race Evolution from race track to racing's first sporting stadium is not unlike moving the course from its origins at the beach to a sprawling remarkable speedway. It is the third version of high-end Daytona stock car racing. "I don't know of another speedway in the world that's this nice and this beautiful," racing legend A.J. Foyt declared at the track's Rolex 24 debut the last week of January. And that's high praise for a structure that is simultaneously imposing and inspiring from a racer known and appreciated for his grit and honesty. The Chevrolet Injector at Daytona International Speedway NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi was in complete agreement with Foyt. "When you first hear they spent $400 million, and you go see the work that's been done, stand on pit lane and look at the grandstand, it looks like $800 million," Ganassi said. "It's really, really something really first class and I think it's going to take our sport to a new level for what fans expect. "This is going to be the Ritz-Carlton of race tracks, there are so many amenities. I couldn't be happier for our fans and what it's going to do for our sport." WATCH: Daytona rises in time lapse video The smiles, the wide-eyes, the enthusiasm that has been brimming under the surface has been notable since this project began more than two years ago. Everyone from the car manufacturers to longtime racing sponsors have gladly joined in the effort. Chevrolet, one of the original and primary corporate sponsors of the new-look speedway, has been eager to support modernization of the facility, recognizing the benefits of balancing modern updates with historic importance. "Chevrolet's commitment to racing originated more than a century ago with Louis Chevrolet and remains strong today as we solidify our presence at the 'World Center of Racing,' " President of General Motors North America Alan Batey said when announcing the company's partnership with Daytona. And for all the attention paid to historic detail, fans will also undoubtedly notice the refined façade outside and appreciate the refinements inside, from larger, more comfortable seating to high-tech huge screens and WiFi availability to the most escalators (40) and newly refurbished restrooms (1,891) of any sports stadium in the country. Artwork in the Sunoco Injector at Daytona International Speedway Toyota joins Chevrolet as an "injector" sponsor and was actually the first to formally announce its partnership with the new Daytona project more than two years ago. The two manufacturers' efforts at creating welcoming, interesting and exciting interactive elements at the track offer a glimpse of how a far-reaching a corporate plan can be. Creativity is the theme throughout the facility with each of the corporate-sponsored injector entrances from Toyota to Chervolet and from Sunoco to Florida Hospital providing an extensive and interactive "experience" for fans. "Philosophically, I think it demonstrates our commitment to motorsports in general and NASCAR in particular, and like anyone else, we're always looking for a way to engage the fans in a meaningful way," said Toyota's Keith Dahl, general manager for motorsports and asset management for Toyota Motor Sales USA. The Toyota Injector at Daytona International Speedway The bigger-than-life Toyota logo that greets Daytona fans at its injector entrance is the largest commercial logo in the United States, according to Dahl. And the company's historic relationship with NASCAR is immediately evident feet away with five full-size Toyota race car replicas representing the Sprint Cup Series' Camrys fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing , and this year's new addition, Furniture Row Racing . Take the escalator up 35 feet to the main concourse and fans are greeted by the reigning Sprint Cup Series championship No. 18 Toyota similar to the one driven by champion Kyle Busch -- a replica so precise it's adorned with both celebratory confetti and bumper-rubbing scrapes. A Sprint Cup trophy sits encased alongside. The massive concourse called a "neighborhood" is 100,000 square feet and there is a common and connecting theme along the Toyota area -- photos and stories of the company's workers -- from car sales associates to manufacturing plant workers to race shop mechanics. A massive "touchscreen wall" made of eight big screens features humble stories and real-life profiles from the company's employees. The headline "From American Factories to American Roads" greets fans and reminds them of the company's commitment to the ultimate of American sports, stock car racing. And vice versa. "Obviously, as time went by more and more effort got put into this," Dahl said. "We literally would have meetings and throw some ideas out there. I know it's cliché to say it's a 'blank canvas,' but it really is. There are a lot of ideas we wanted to try. "This was a chance to try some things. And what you see today, I would hope is not what you would see in perpetuity. We want to keep things vibrant and relative. We'll have different things going on." For example, the refreshment area in each injector is similar but uniquely decorated. In Toyota's version, there are seats refurbished and retained from the speedway's former grandstands. Toyota Tundra truck tailgates were made into benches for many of the tables. As you walk along the massive concourse, Toyota has an area featuring its latest passenger cars and trucks. Take an elevator up to the next level and you are immediately greeted with a replica of the nose cone of the Space Shuttle Endeavor -- the real spacecraft that a Toyota Tundra famously gave a lift to a museum in downtown Los Angeles in 2012. And winning Toyota race cars and race trucks hang from the ceiling. The Florida Hospital Injector at Daytona International Speedway Stand on a level high atop the grandstands, alongside the luxury corporate suites looking outward from the speedway and you can feel the breeze and see what's coming next. Across the street, tractors and bulldozers are working to build a massive mall and eatery, "One Daytona" for the next phase of the facility's modernization. It will include popular restaurants, a Bass Pro Shops store and famous hotels, plus – importantly -- ease of passage from sidetrack to race track. "As you walk through the stadium, you see the potential for anything," Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said proudly, glancing across the street. "For us the goal is to continue to push the envelope. Yes, we're the world center of racing, but also the world center of entertainment is very doable." But what is most important to both the executives and definitely the fans is a one-of-a-kind, top-shelf experience at Daytona from thrilling racing on track to thrilling ways to watch the racing on track. The speedway is not only keeping up with the times, it's setting fast time. "Probably what makes me most proud is that the France family entrusted me with their most valuable property," Chitwood said. "Being around Lesa and Jim France and seeing the legacy that Bill France created in the 1950s, we have to live up to that. "This is the Daytona International Speedway and Big Bill built this place and we are not going to misstep. It has to be right. And I'm proud to say, I think we nailed it." WATCH: 'Untold Stories: Daytona'
Stewart breaks silence, answers injury questions
RELATED: Full coverage of Stewart's injury DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tony Stewart is up and walking, breaking his social media silence for the first time since suffering severe back injuries in an all-terrain vehicle accident Jan. 31. The three-time NASCAR champion answered questions about his injuries, his future and his outlook through two live-streaming Periscope sessions Friday morning from his North Carolina home. Stewart was seen walking on a treadmill and briefly showed the scars from his back surgery, which repaired the burst fracture of his L1 vertebra. "We're starting to get the pain under control," said Stewart, who aims to return for the remainder of his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. "I didn't want everybody to think that while everyone was at Daytona today, I was sitting on my ass in Charlotte." Stewart, 44, said that his accident in the desert came at low speed, explaining that the sand buggy he was driving "nose-planted" into a dune after a drop of an estimated 20-25 feet. He noted that he was unable to call for help since there was no cell-phone signal and the group he was with did not have two-way radios. He joked about having difficulty in embellishing his story, "when you're only going 5 mph. Hard to make that sound cool at all." Brian Vickers was named as Stewart's interim replacement in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet for Daytona's Speedweeks on Friday morning. Stewart said doctors advised him not to travel to Daytona, keeping him in North Carolina to focus on his recovery. RELATED: Vickers named No. 14 driver for Daytona Stewart indicated that he had two rods and three screws inserted surgically. He said his rehabilitation is being led by the same doctor who oversaw Kyle Busch 's recovery from multiple leg fractures last season. Stewart said that some of his biggest issues were with spasms, trying to get his muscles to relax, but added that his conditioning -- even before the accident -- had improved. He said he had lost 22 pounds since Dec. 1. Stewart said doctors also told him to either lie flat or to be up and walking, instead of sitting or standing in one place. Stewart said he's trying not to overdo his rehabilitation, but that the injury's limitations have made him like a "caged animal. ... It's hard to go back to just laying around. When I've had enough, my back tells me." Stewart, who won championships in 2002, 2005 and 2011, did not offer a timetable for his return to competition, but he did rule out altering his NASCAR retirement plan to make up for this season's lost time: "No, I'm not doing another season since this happened. I made my decision and that's it." The offseason injury means Stewart will miss portions of three of the last four Sprint Cup seasons. He missed the final 15 races of the 2013 season after suffering severe leg fractures in a sprint car event in Oskaloosa, Iowa. In 2014, he sat out three races after an on-track incident at a New York dirt track took the life of 20-year-old competitor Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart said he'd mentioned needing an exorcism, claiming, "there's definitely a demon inside me that keeps getting me hurt." Despite the recent hardships, he shrugged off any notion of sympathy. "I wouldn't say 'poor baby.' We've been through a lot worse than this," Stewart said. "This is just another bump in the road." RELATED: Watch Stewart's Q&A session