As the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season draws closer, much like 2015, it will mark the end of another driver’s all-star career. As announced, at the end of the 2016 season, Tony Stewart will step out from behind the wheel of the No. 14 car and be replaced in 2017 by Clint Bowyer. I’ll be honest, I have really mixed feelings about all this.
I hope that Tony Stewart is competitive, with all that he’s meant to our sport since becoming a full-time driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 1999. I still believe with all my heart that Tony has not forgotten how to drive a race car. I just think the leg injury, followed by the tragedy in New York in 2014, combined with the rules package that took away horsepower — which definitely didn’t fit Tony’s driving style — were all baggage that kept him from even being competitive these past couple years.
I would love for Tony to leave our sport much like Jeff Gordon did at the end of 2015. I would love to see Tony win a race and get a shot at his possible fourth and final NASCAR Sprint Cup series championship. Tony will be starting 2016 with a new crew chief, and hopefully with a breath of fresh air combined with wanting to go out strong, we’ll see the Tony Stewart of old.