Stewart finishes his long good-bye to Sprint Cup racing

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Always a Racer/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, greets fans as he is introduced prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Always a Racer/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, greets fans as he is introduced prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Always a Racer/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, greets fans as he is introduced prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Sunday started better for Tony Stewart than it ended.

Before the Ford EcoBoost 400, Stewart was greeted warmly by crew members from every Sprint Cup team as he drove down pit road. He was mobbed by well-wishers before he started his final laps on the track.

That Stewart finished 22nd, two laps down, may have been anti-climactic to the uninitiated, but it marked the end of an enormously successful career for the three-time series champion, who finished his Sprint Cup tenure with 49 victories at NASCAR’s highest level.

“I raced,” Stewart said. “I did what I do every time I get in the car. I didn’t think of anything else other than just racing the race. We got behind there, and we tried something to make ground and got caught out and had to run 60 laps on a set of tires.”

Stewart derived more enjoyment from seeing Jimmie Johnson win his record-tying seventh championship.

“I’m proud,” Stewart said. “It’s been an awesome 21 years racing in NASCAR with the XFINITY Series and the Cup Series. That’s really cool to see that No. 48 (Johnson) up there making history. Now we’ve got three guys in the seven-win club. Pretty proud day. I was glad I got to race with him on the day he got his seventh.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.