Stewart to carry SHR employees along for final NASCAR race
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) Tony Stewart will carry each of his Stewart-Haas Racing employees with him for his final NASCAR race.
Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet will have a special paint scheme complete with each SHR employees' signature with the words ''Always a Racer, Forever a Champion'' as well as pictures of his 18-year career on the hood. A three-time champion, Stewart is retiring after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Stewart's team also will host about 75 SHR guests for the finale. Aside from that, he hopes to keep a low profile through the weekend.
''We didn't want all the ceremony and distraction this year,'' Stewart said. ''We just wanted to focus on the race car and run well and let the NASCAR fans see us race a final time.''
Stewart asked to skip the pomp and circumstance that accompanied Jeff Gordon's retirement last year. Instead, he chose to focus on his team. The result was five top-five finishes, eight top-10s and a win in June. Stewart passed Denny Hamlin on the last lap at Sonoma Raceway to claim his 49th career victory and earn a berth in the Chase for the championship. Stewart failed to advance past the round of 12, though.
In retirement, Stewart plans to race dirt tracks, oversee his World of Outlaws team and Eldora Speedway next year. He also will keep up with his duties at SHR and help Clint Bowyer make the transition as his replacement.
''You're going to see me driving a lot next year, but most of it will be on dirt,'' Stewart said. ''I kind of look at this as halftime of my career, and I'll still be around the NASCAR garage. I'll just have more time. If I see Richard Petty or anyone else in the garage, I can go over and talk to him now and not have to worry about getting to the car or trying to figure out how to make my car go faster. I can focus now on what I want to do and my job at SHR.''
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