Tony Stewart set to retire after 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season

Tony Stewart will retire at the end of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season

The three-time Cup champion, who is currently struggling through one of the worst seasons of his career and sits 25th in the points, is scheduled to formally announce his decision on Wednesday.

Clint Bowyer, whose current team Michael Waltrip Racing will close shop at the end of the year, is widely reported to have been signed to replace Stewart in the #14 Stewart-Haas entry in 2017.

There is speculation that he will spend next year with HScott Motorsports in the interim.

Stewart will leave a complicated legacy: his three NASCAR titles are joined by the 1997 Indy Racing League crown, however he has also been dogged by controversy.

He missed three races last year after being involved in a sprint car accident that led to the death of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr, and also sat out the final 15 races of 2013 after suffering a badly broken leg in another sprint car accident.

The 44-year-old switched to stock car racing full-time from 1999, initially with Joe Gibbs Racing before setting up his own Stewart-Haas Racing team with new Formula 1 team owner Gene Haas a decade later.

Stewart has taken 48 Cup wins as well as the 2002, '05 and '11 championships, the latter on a tiebreak with Carl Edwards.

He has not won a race since the June 2013 Dover event.

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