NASCAR returns Wednesday as teams begin testing at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the big Daytona 500. From now until  the race on February 23, teams are preparing for war. 

Not a lot of time has past at all. Only 54 days ago did Jimmie Johnson just win his sixth Sprint Cup title at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Of course, a lot can change in the matter of days. Drivers including Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin didn't get to enjoy the season they had hoped for in 2013, but now teams are ready to move on with things and get testing done. However, as is always the case in racing, testing results do not serve as good predictors for the Datyona 500 race.

Kurt Busch joins Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, and Tony Stewart. Kevin Harvick's new ride at SHR while Ryan Newman is without a sponsor and slides into Jeff Burton's seat at Richard Childress Racing.  The elephant in the room is Tony Stewart's health, as he broke his leg in a sprint car accident back in August.  

Despite the concerns, Tony Stewart's prognosis for the Daytona 500 are extremely optimistic. In fact, Tony Stewart intends to participate in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race the week before the Daytona 500 as well. On Thursday, Tony Stewart announced that he is on schedule to be cleared to drive the day just before Sprint Unlimited.

"It's continuing to get better, and like I say, we've got four more weeks to get ready for that," Stewart said. "Luckily this is a smooth racetrack. It's not rough and bumpy. If it were Dover, I would be a lot more concerned. But the hard part with here is you're just with your throttle, with your right leg, you're on the gas so long. That's the only thing we're worried about right now just because we just don't know until we get in a car and actually run, and we're not going to know that until the day before. We'll get a little bit of time in there, but we'll know a little better after practice is over."

Despite the injury, Stewart faces the approaching 2014 season with the expectation to stay in the Chase. In fact, Stewart sees Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick in the Chase as well.

"I think every week we for sure have three guys that can go out and win the race, and I think on the fourth driver, I think Danica has got potential to be more consistent this year," Stewart said. "I think she's got three teammates that are going to be behind her 100 percent.

"You know, I think we can win a lot of races. I think realistically we could get three cars in the Chase," claimed Stewart. "It wouldn't surprise me at all. I'd almost be a little disappointed if all three of these cars don't make the Chase by the end of the year. It's not that we're discounting Danica, but it's still a work in progress. She's still learning.

"This year I think will be a big year for her. I think she's going to -- I think having that first full season under her belt now and being able to go to every place twice and get the feeling of what a Cup weekend is like, I think all the news wore off of that this year and I think she knows more what to expect and it's more a matter of focusing on the things that she can be better at. I think all four of us have the potential to do better than all four of us did last year. But for sure I feel like we've got three cars that can win races and make the Chase right now."