His first experiences behind the wheel started at age 7, racing a go-kart, with his father, Nelson, serving as car owner and crew chief. Now, 38 years later and a wide experience driving all sorts of racing cars and racing tracks Tony Stewart, announced his final laps will be raced on 2016.
Several media outlets have confirmed the news, first reported by motorsport.com, and it will be officially announced next Wednesday at Stewart-Haas Racing headquarters in Kannapolis, N.C. The press conference has been set for 1 pm ET.
The driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has scored 12 driver championships since he first wheeled a go-kart in 1978 at a Westport, Ind., racetrack.
His most widely known titles are the three he scored in NASCAR’s pinnacle series. He earned his first crown in 2002 by beating veteran racer Mark Martin by 38 points and a second in 2005 when he bested Greg Biffle by 35 points. His third title was earned in 2011 after winning the season finale at Homestead Speedway to edge Carl Edwards on a tiebreaker (most wins).
Stewart, one of auto racing’s most versatile drivers, includes in his impressive resume 48 race victories and 182 top-five finishes in 582 career starts in NASCAR’s highest level.
Stewart also holds championships in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the now-defunct IROC Series and USAC, where in the same season in 1995 won the sprint car, midget and Silver Crown series championships.
In 2009 Stewart became the first driver/owner to win a Sprint Cup race since Ricky Rudd was victorious in 1998.
Last two years have struck hard on Stewart. Back in 2013, Tony suffered an accident in a dirt-track race, in Iowa. He broke his right leg, missing 15 races, but his most tragic accident occurred last year, as he was involved in a sprint car accident that killed Kevin Ward Jr.
Stewart was racing in a sprint car event in August 2014, in Upstate New York, when his car struck and killed Ward Jr., who had scrambled out of his car, furious at Stewart for an accident on the previous lap.
A New York grand jury cleared Stewart of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, Ward’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. That case is still pending, with a trial date yet to be set.
This season hasn’t been the best for Stewart as either, as he is 25th in the points standings and failed to qualify for the Sprint Cup championship for the third consecutive year.
It is stated that Clint Bowyer, who will be a free agent this coming off-season after Michael Waltrip Racing closes at the end of the year, will replace Stewart in 2017.
In the meantime, we will have to wait and see if Tony Stewart will be able to regain his driving in time to retire in an honorable way.