Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart is expected to announce his retirement this week and be replaced in his No. 14 Chevy next season by Clint Bowyer, a source confirmed to the Observer.
The news, first reported Sunday night by Motorsports.com, will be made official at a Wednesday news conference at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis.
Stewart, 44, who won Cup championships in 2002, ’05 and ’11, has 48 victories at NASCAR’s highest level. But he is on a 69-race winless streak, his most recent victory coming at Dover (Del.) in 2013. Before coming to NASCAR in 1999, Stewart raced for three years on the IndyCar circuit, where he won three times.
In 2013, a sprint car driven by Stewart on a track in upstate New York killed driver Kevin Ward, who had walked onto the track after a crash. No charges were brought against Stewart after a grand jury cleared him of any wrongdoing. But Ward’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against Stewart. The case is pending.
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Bowyer, who finished 26th in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, is 16th in this season’s Chase standings. An eight-time winner in 11 Cup seasons, Bowyer recently was released by Michael Waltrip Racing, which won’t field a team next season.