“Next year will be my last year in the Sprint Cup series,” NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and team owner Tony Stewart said in a press conference this afternoon. “It was a choice that was 100 percent mine. I think deep down, you know when it’s time to do something different.”

Three-time Sprint Cup series championship Stewart will still be working with co-owner Gene Haas on the Stewart-Haas Racing team, but just won’t be driving in Sprint Cup.

Advertisement

“I’m excited about what [Gene Haas] is doing on the F1 side,” Stewart said. He chuckled about Haas only having named one driver for F1 and joked about hopping into that seat, saying, “I apologize now for the cars I’m gonna crash.”

More seriously, he’d love to do the Modified Tour, and he hasn’t ruled out Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series appearances, either. Specifically, he’d love to run a truck at his own track, Eldora Speedway. He’s also looking forward to watching some Formula One races with Gene Haas.

When asked if his leg injury or the racing incident where Kevin Ward Jr. lost his life had anything to do with Stewart’s decision to retire, Stewart said no. Stewart has had a fantastic and long career, so simply put, he just felt like it was time to move on.

Advertisement

Who’s getting Stewart’s seat in 2017, then? Currently team-less driver Clint Bowyer. Stewart said that the pick was based on Bowyer reminding him a lot of himself. Bowyer is glad to see his nightmare situation of his team closing down turn completely upside down. He gets a ride with one of the top teams in Sprint Cup now, and couldn’t be happier.

Photo credit: Getty Images


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.