There will be no fourth Sprint Cup championship for Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart has won three NASCAR Premier Series championships.
There will not be a fourth.
Stewart, who is retiring as a driver in the Sprint Cup Series at the end of this season, was eliminated from the 2016 Chase for the championship Sunday at Dover International Speedway.
Stewart was never much of a factor in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet on the day, finishing 13th. It left him on the outside looking in when four Chase drivers were eliminated from the playoffs at the end of the race.
Stewart left Dover 13th in the points standings, 11 behind Austin Dillon -- who claimed the final transfer spot into the next round of the Chase.
Afterward, Stewart was a man of few words.
"I'm pretty excited about our day. We were much better than we were (in practice on Saturday)," Stewart said. "I'm really proud of our team. We kept making it better all day. That is as good as we had."
Regardless of the fact that Stewart is now out of the hunt for a fourth title, he knows he can look back on this season and be proud of the fact that he made the Chase at all.
He missed the first eight races of the season after suffering a back injury just weeks before the Daytona 500.
Even after he won on the road course at Sonoma in June, he still had to claw his way into the top 30 in points to lock himself into the Chase â which was no easy feat.
He did so on the strength of five top-five and seven top-10 finishes over his 21 starts, including the upset win at Sonoma.
While there are still seven more races in Stewart's farewell tour, he took to Twitter to thank his team for the season and reach out to Clint Bowyer, the driver who will be filling his seat in the No. 14 car in 2017.