AVONDALE, Ariz. — Tony Stewart came back from a broken right leg at the Daytona 500 still not fully healed, yet able to race.
By the time he arrived at Phoenix International Raceway, he also was annoyed — at all the questions about his health.
‘‘I'll be honest, I'll be more happy when everybody quits asking me how I feel,’’ Stewart said. ‘‘I'm not 100 percent. I'm not going to be 100 percent for a while.’’
The same could be said of his team after a disappointing start to the season at the Daytona 500.
Stewart crashed out of the Sprint Unlimited and struggled with engine issues at the Great American Race, finishing 35th. Danica Patrick was strong early, leading laps for the second straight year, but got tangled in a late-race crash and finished 40th.
Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick, the two newest members of Stewart-Haas Racing, were in position for good finishes, but had troubles at the end of the race. Busch finished 21st and Harvick hit the pit-road wall head-on on the final crash of the race to finish 13th.
Stewart and the rest of his team are hoping to bounce back quickly at Phoenix, particularly with a new championship format that makes it important to finish races.
Busch will have the best starting position for SHR in Sunday’s race in 10th and Harvick is two rows back at 13th. Stewart will start 20th and Patrick will go off 33d.
‘‘Not that you’re not going to be aggressive, but you have to keep the mind-set right now that you still have to finish the races,’’ said Harvick, the all-time leader in victories at PIR with nine, including four Sprint Cup wins. ‘‘But as you’re in that position [to win], you can start being a lot more aggressive with really anything. All you’re after at that point is winning races to try to gain more bonus point to protect yourself in the first round of the Chase to get the cushion.’’
Sunday’s race on Phoenix’s odd-shaped mile oval will be 312 miles.
The Daytona 500 had a six-hour rain delay and weather could be an issue again this week. A few raindrops hit the track Saturday morning, but the sun came out around midday. Rain was expected overnight, tapering off Sunday morning.