Sports

Year after missing his first Sprint Cup race, Smoke is back at Watkins Glen poised to strike

Kyle Larson (42) bumps a curb during a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Watkins Glen N.Y. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Kyle Larson (42) bumps a curb during a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Watkins Glen N.Y. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)  (The Associated Press)

Tony Stewart is back at Watkins Glen in desperate need of a win, and the weatherman is cooperating.

The forecast for Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen is sunny with temperatures in the mid-80s. That means Stewart will be in his element.

The last of Stewart's NASCAR-record five wins at Watkins Glen International was in the rain-delayed 2009 race on a hot, steamy Monday. He muscled an ill-handling car in the early going, then held off road race ace Marcos Ambrose over the final 21 laps for his seventh triumph on a road course, second all-time to Jeff Gordon's nine.

A year ago, Stewart missed Watkins Glen after a sprint car accident in Iowa broke his leg just days before the race at a track he'd dominated for a decade.