Tony Stewart to retire from NASCAR at the end of the 2016 season

Three time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart has announced he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the 2016 season

Tony Stewart to retire from NASCAR at the end of the 2016 season

The 44-year-old co-owner of the Stewart-Haas team will step down after what will be his 18th season competing in NASCAR's top level.

"This is a moment every driver eventually comes to terms with, and I know this is the right decision for me," said Stewart.

"2016 will be my last year in a Cup car, but it's not my last year in NASCAR.

"I love this sport and I love being a part of it, and instead of seeing me in a firesuit on Sundays, you'll see me in a pair of jeans, and maybe even a pair of khakis."

Clint Bowyer, who will , will replace Stewart in the #14 Chevrolet.

"Today is an incredible opportunity and I'm proud and excited to take over the No.14 in 2017," said 2012 Cup runner-up Bowyer.

"I appreciate everything he's done for me and the sport of auto racing.

"These are big shoes to fill, but boy am I ever looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a champion's ride, and having Tony there with me along the way."

Stewart's co-owner Gene Haas, who is entering his own team in Formula 1 next year, is looking forward to his partner focusing more time on their NASCAR operation when he steps out of the cockpit.

"Tony Stewart has been a game-changer for Stewart-Haas Racing," Haas said.

"I always had an incredible amount of respect for what he could do with a racecar - any racecar, as he's been successful in everything he's ever driven.

"In getting to know Tony Stewart the businessman, I found a very smart person with excellent people skills.

"He's extremely valuable to our race team and a strong voice in our sport.

"His passion for motorsports is unmatched, and I'm proud that his future outside of the No.14 Chevrolet remains with Stewart-Haas Racing."

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Tony Stewart set to retire after 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season

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