NASCAR's Tony Stewart to retire next year

Posted at 11:21 AM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 13:21:58-04

Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart says he will retire after 2016 season.

Stewart, a driver and owner, started racing go-karts in 1978.

He's won championships as a driver in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, the IRL IndyCar Series, International Race of Champions (IROC), 983 International Karting Federation Grand National championship, the 1987 World Karting Association National championship and he has four USAC championships, including what at the time was an unprecedented win of USAC’s “Triple Crown" -- the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in one season.

He is the first and only driver to have won championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars, according to his website.

“When I started racing competitively when I was about seven or eight, getting a trophy that was bigger than the other kids’ was all I cared about,” said Stewart. “I couldn’t have asked for more out of this life. I feel like I’m a very, very fortunate person, so no matter what happens, no matter how long I race or don’t race, the goals and everything that happens from here is just icing on the cake. I’ve been very lucky to do the things I’ve done.”

He became an owner/driver in 2008 when he left Joe Gibbs Racing for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Stewart-Haas Racing has a 144,000-square foot facility in Kannapolis, N.C., where more than 250 employees work on behalf of Stewart’s No. 14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser / Jimmy John's Chevrolet, Kurt Busch's No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet and Danica Patrick's No. 10 Go Daddy / Aspen Dental Chevrolet.

In 2000, Stewart formed Tony Stewart Racing (TSR). Operating out of state-of-the-art 25,000-square foot facility in Brownsburg, Ind., TSR fields one WoO team, a part time team for Steve Kinser and a winged sprint car for Stewart to pilot when his schedule allows. In WoO, TSR fields the No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies / Chevrolet sprint car for six-time champion Donny Schatz.

Stewart also owns Eldora Speedway. The half-mile dirt oval hosts several dirt racing events. Stewart is also part-owner of two other racetracks – Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway and Macon (Ill.) Speedway.

The Tony Stewart Foundation raises money for three specific groups – chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities and organizations dedicated to the protection of various animal species. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $5 million to assist charitable initiatives for more than 130 organizations throughout the United States.