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Tony Stewart retiring after 2016 season

Posted at 4:53 AM, Sep 28, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tony Stewart will retire after the 2016 NASCAR season.

Stewart, a Columbus, Indiana native, has privately talked about his retirement for a few months now, and a tough season has not helped his outlook.

The fatal dirt-track accident involving Kevin Ward Jr. over a year ago has also weighed heavy on his mind.

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Stewart is one of the most highly respected drivers among the fraternity of NASCAR.

Stewart, 44, is a three-time Sprint Cup champion with 48 wins in the series.

He is a two-time Brickyard champion and was the 1997 IndyCar champion.

Stewart has not officially announced his retirement, but a news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina to publicly announce his retirement plans.