NASCAR's three-time champ Stewart to retire after 2016 season
By Steve Ginsburg
(Reuters) - Tony Stewart, one of auto racing's biggest names, announced on Wednesday he would retire from NASCAR driving after the 2016 season, saying: "Deep down you know when it's time to do something different."
The mercurial 44-year-old Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion and winner of 48 races at the circuit's top level, said Clint Boyer would get behind the wheel of the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet after next season.
"Everybody in their career makes the decision that it's time for a change," Stewart, who will remain co-owner of the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing team, told a news conference in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
"It's nothing that you plan. Deep down you know when it's time to do something different and make a change like this."
It has been a rough stretch for Stewart, who has not had a top-5 finish in 28 NASCAR races this season. In each of his first 15 seasons, Stewart, known as "Smoke," won at least one race.
Last year, he fatally struck 20-year-old fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race in upstate New York. Ward's parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart.
Stewart denied that his driving slump, the death of Ward, or the broken leg he suffered in a sprint car accident in 2013 had anything to do with his decision to quit NASCAR racing.
"Not 1 percent has that had anything to do with it," he said. "This is strictly what I want to do. My leg feels fine. The (Ward) tragedy, nothing's going to change that. It happened, but it's not going to direct the rest of my life." Continued...