Tony Stewart was in a different mode of transportation last September. (Chuck Burton / AP)

Tony Stewart has made no secret of his love for his roots in sprint-car racing, even after the most serious of a series of crashes last summer left him with a badly broken leg and raised questions about just why he was risking his NASCAR career on dirt tracks.

And if having several operations on his leg missing out on a run for a fourth NASCAR championship was any kind of extra deterrent, think again. Almost a year after the crash in Iowa, he was back behind the wheel Friday night at a dirt track in Auburn, Mich., and he won his 25-lap event. Of course.

He tested the car in May and said promised he would be back. Although several Sprint Cup owners do not allow drivers to compete in sprint cars, Stewart is a co-owner of his team and owns a sprint-car racing team.

“It’s my life,” Stewart said in May. “I’m going to live my life. It’s nobody else’s decision, but mine. I think there are a lot worse things I could be doing with my life than what I choose to do.”

On Friday, Stewart started in the fifth position and roared back.

“There was no doubt in my mind I would be back in a Sprint car,” he said after winning (via “It was just a matter of when.”

And a weekend without a NASCAR was the perfect “when.”

“It’s hard to explain how much fun it is to drive these cars,” Stewart said. “This is a fun little race track… you can run it from the bottom to the top.”

H/T Sporting News