Stewart won Cup championships in 2002, 2005 and 2011 and an IndyCar title in 1997. He has argued in court filings that Ward was responsible for his own death by attempting to make contact with Stewart’s vehicle when he got hit and also because he had used marijuana within five hours of the race.
Stewart has also successfully raced in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, winning 11 races, and he won twice in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Clint Bowyer, released from his contract with Michael Waltrip Racing because the team is folding at the end of the season, will likely replace Stewart in 2017.
According to ESPN, Bowyer, whose current team MWR is closing shop at the end of the year, will race with HScott Motorsports next season before switching over to take Stewart’s place.
Stewart was NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year in 1999, and won Rookie Of The Year honors in the 1996 Indy 500.
Stewart, a three-time Cup champ, is 25th in the standings this year.
Stewart missed three races past year after a sprint vehicle he was racing struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who had approached Stewart’s auto on foot after wrecking.
Ward’s parents are suing Stewart for unspecified damages for Ward’s pain and suffering and the potential economic support he could have provided to them.
Hurd wrote that the Syracuse airport is 56 miles from Utica and that the additional travel for a few witnesses didn’t warrant a transfer from the location initially chosen by the Ward family when it first filed suit in August in its home county (Lewis County) in state court. “It’s not been business as usual by any means, and this is going to be a healing process for me”, he said, “So it makes you think about a lot of things other than driving race cars”.
His passion for NASCAR racing has also waned in the last several seasons, in part because of an evolving rules package that he has struggled with.
The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because Stewart hasn’t publicly disclosed his plans. He last won a Cup race on June 2, 2013, at Dover global Speedway.