Stewart Confirms Retirement From NASCAR
Rumors have been circulating through the NASCAR community for a few weeks now. And, Tony Stewart made it official today. He will retire at the end of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season. In his official press conference today, in typical Stewart fashion, he answered many questions that came with the rumors, laid out his plans for the future, and, of course, had some fun with the media...at NASCAR's expense! Sports and Goal posted an abbreviated, to the Stewart point version of the presser. Below is the full video.
Stewart addressed what influenced his decision, and noted that most of his confidants tried to talk him out of it. And, apparently to the chagrin of NASCAR, will still have "the opportunity to get fined and put on probation, just in different ways," as a team owner. (Classic Stewart!) Clint Bowyer will take the helm of the Stewart-Haas Racing Number 14 in 2017.
The announcement comes as another NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon, gets ready to trade in the steering wheel for a microphone after the end of this season. Stewart paid homage to what Gordon brought to NASCAR throughout his career, and said he has no want or need for a hero's send off, like Gordon has received this year. In Stewart's words, "I don't think I'm worthy of that kind of admiration because I think Jeff's really done so much for this sport that nobody will ever be able to do again."
So, don't cry tears for Stewart, despite the issues he has faced over the last two and a half years. Fans should cry for themselves, though, as they will lose another great, love Stewart or hate him.
But, surely cry for NASCAR. They are losing two of the most recognizable, likeable, marketable, and talented figures in their sport. And, every fan knows, the last thing NASCAR needs is another black cloud that looms over them and their grandstands.