Opinion: Hope hasn't forsaken Tony Stewart despite latest setback

BY foxsports • February 4, 2016

If Tony Stewart needs any motivation or encouragement to recover from his latest injury, all he need do is look to Kyle Busch.

Stewart will start the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on the sidelines after injuring his back Sunday in a sand-rail incident in the desert near the Arizona-California border.

By all accounts, Stewart wasn't doing wrong; he just had a freak landing over a dune that compressed the shocks and springs on the vehicle and hurt Stewart's back. It was a tough blow for the three-time champion, who spent the offseason working out and getting himself in great shape for his final year of Cup racing.

But Stewart is expected back by midseason, which gives him hope.

Especially after Busch's epic run last year.

To recap: Busch suffered a compound fracture of the lower right leg and a midfoot fracture of the left foot in a hard, head-on crash in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch wound up with a rod in his leg, a plate in his foot, and assorted screws holding the injured parts together. He missed the first 11 points races of the Cup season.

And yet, he came back to win five races and his first Cup championship in a remarkable and wholly unpredictable run to glory.

For however much pain Stewart may be in right now, that's a concrete ray of hope he can hold onto as he tries to rehab himself yet again.

There are no guarantees, of course.

Not in NASCAR and not in life. Not ever.

But it's a reason to try and a reason to hope, two things Stewart needs right now.

And I wouldn't put it past Smoke to rise.