Tony Stewart, one of Nascar’s most popular and accomplished drivers, will be retiring after the 2016 season. Here, we take a look back on his career.
Because of Stewart’s incredible accomplishments in Nascar, his work in other series is sometimes lost to history. Stewart, who began his racing career driving go-karts and midget cars in the USAC, boasts an IndyCar championship in addition to his 3 Nascar trophies. Stewart accomplished all if this before ever entering the top level of Nascar, driving double duty in IndyCars and the Busch Series. Stewart is an avid racer, driving Sprint Cars on dirt as well as his Sprint Cup ride.
Tony’s drive to race has led to insane accomplishments within the sport. He made a splash as soon as he entered Nascar, winning 3 races his rookie year en route to a 4th place finish overall. He is tied for 5th all-time with 3 Nascar championships, and is tied for 13th all-time with 48 wins. Smoke is the only driver to take home the title under the old Winston Cup format and the new Sprint Cup format, a testament to his incredible versatility as a driver. Stewart’s 2011 Chase run is considered one of the greatest ever–after a slow start to the season, the veteran won 5 times during the last 10 races, overcoming Carl Edwards’ consistency to take home the championship.
Stewart has proved his status time and time again as one of the sports greatest drivers. His 2011 championship marked the first by an owner-driver since Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 ring. In 2009, Stewart, unhappy with his role at Joe Gibbs Racing and the team;s switch to Toyota, joined forces with Gene Haas at Haas CNC Racing and began driving his #14 Chevy alongside Ryan Newman. Now, Stewart-Haas, which receives technical support from Hendrick Motorsports, boasts 2 championships and 30 race wins to its name and will be around long after Stewart retires.
Stewart’s retirement won’t stop him from being involved in the sport. Smoke loves racing, and continues to compete hard day in and day out despite his struggles the past few years. Expect to see him take an active role in the garage when working with his team. Stewart also owns Eldora Speedway, which hosts an annual dirt race for the Craftsman Truck Series. Stewart’s retirement could open up the possibility of racing Sprint Cup cars at Eldora, a move fans and drivers would love to see. Whatever Tony Stewart does after he hangs up his helmet, he’ll approach it with the same passion and intensity that has defined his racing career.