Fox Sports is reporting that NASCAR driver Tony Stewart has been medically cleared to return to competitive racing. An injury sustained just weeks prior to the Daytona 500 has kept "Smoke" sidelined all season. But, he is expected to return to his Number 14 Chevrolet this weekend in Richmond.

Stewart has been rehabbing an injury to his L1 vertebrae since an off-road vehicle accident on January 31. Prior to the season Smoke announced that the 2016 NASCAR season would be his last. The injury was another setback for Stewart after off-track incidents over the last three seasons since winning his third Sprint Cup Championship in 2012. In August of 2013, Stewart sustained a broken leg while racing a sprint car. In August 2014, he was involved in another sprint car accident that left fellow driver Kevin Ward dead.

NASCAR has granted Stewart a medical waiver, keeping him eligible for The Chase of the Sprint Cup. In order to qualify, Stewart must race his way in, meaning he must win a racr and finish in the Top 30 in points standings prior to the start of The Chase.