Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart plans to retire at the end of the 2016 season, ESPN’s Marty Smith reports.
Stewart won the Sprint Cup in 2002, 2005 and 2011, but is currently having one of the worst seasons of his career. He is ranked No. 25 in the standings and has not won a race in more than two years.
At 45 years old with 18 Cup seasons, 582 starts and 48 victories behind him, Stewart will pass on the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 car to Clint Bowyer in 2017, ESPN reports. Bowyer drives for Michael Waltrip Racing, which will release him from his contract when it folds at the end of the 2015 season.
Over the last three seasons, Stewart has faced challenges on and off the race track. In 2013 he missed the final 15 races after sustaining a broken leg in a sprint car crash. In 2014 he struck and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr., and is currently facing a wrongful death lawsuit brought against him by Ward’s family.
Stewart and team co-owner Gene Haas will hold a press conference this week, Stewart-Hass Racing told the Associated Press.
- Erin Flynn