Tony Stewart back on track, 20 pounds lighter

Published: .
Updated: .

Six months after a horrific sprint-car crash that broke two bones in his right leg, "Smoke" is back.

But there are a couple of big differences for Tony Stewart when he gets behind the wheel.

He'll be 20 pounds lighter with a titanium rod in his leg.

As far as he's concerned, those are the only major changes since he broke two bones in his leg in an August sprint-car crash.

When the green flag drops Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway for his first race since the accident, the Columbus, Indiana  native believes it will be the same old "Smoke" behind the wheel.

He says, "we're not going to need a backup driver. I feel good enough that I'm confident we're not going to have to worry about anything."

Stewart has not raced in more than six months. He's scheduled to return for the first time Friday for 105 minutes of practice for the exhibition Sprint Unlimited.

The Daytona 500 takes place February 23.