Tony Stewart to retire after 2016 season

INDIANAPOLIS — Another long time race car driver plans to announce he’s leaving the sport.

Later this week, Columbus native Tony Stewart is expected to officially announce plans to retire after the 2016 season. Next year’s Brickyard 400 could be Stewart’s final race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

MotorSport.com was the first to report the news. The plan is for Stewart to run one final season before handing over driving duties of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 car to Clint Bowyer in 2017.

It’s been a tough couple of years off the track for Stewart as well. He’s recently dealt with a lawsuit after the spring car crash that killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York. The wrongful death suit claims Stewart accelerated as he approached Ward, causing the car to slide into Ward. A New York grand jury declined to indict Stewart on criminal charges.

Tony Stewart has won 48 cup races and is tied for 13th all-time. He’s also won three cup championships, the most recent in 2011. He’s won the Brickyard 400 twice.

An official announcement of his decision is reportedly set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Stewart-Haas Racing headquarters in North Carolina.

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