Tony Stewart Stepped into NASCAR Retirement Due to a Childhood Promise He Made to His Dad

Tony Stewart strung together a highly decorated professional NASCAR racing career that spanned over two decades. Stewart experienced it all on the track that went well beyond competing in a stock car. When he chose to finally step away from it all, he used a childhood promise to his father to commit to retirement.

Tony Stewart’s illustrious NASCAR career

Tony Stewart is held by many as one of the top drivers during his time on the NASCAR track.

Stewart’s resume speaks for itself as he is a three-time Cup Series champion, earned 49 Cup Series race wins, and 308 top-ten finishes. He earned 13 top-10 finishes in the Cup Series points standings, including five instances placing inside the top five.

He remains the only driver to win both a Cup Series title and an IndyCar Series championship. Stewart has earned racing titles in Indy, Midget USAC Silver Crown, and Sprint cars. His success on the NASCAR track guided him to receiver a 2020 induction into the Hall of Fame.

As Stewart’s career wound down, he used a promise to his father to help navigate him into retirement.

Tony Stewart stepped into NASCAR retirement due to a childhood promise he made to his dad

Tony Stewart spent two decades behind the wheel on a NASCAR track, which came to a close in 2016.

Stewart’s lengthy career saw him experience tremendous success over the years, but it was a notable change in his mindset toward racing that pushed him into retirement. During an interview with NBC Sports in November 2018, Stewart’s decision to step away came from a childhood promise he made to his father.

“My dad made me promise when I was eight years old when we started racing together, he said ‘the day that you’re not having fun doing this, promise me you’ll stop,'” Stewart. “And I think he meant if I was nine or 10 or 11, but I never forgot that, and I finally got to the point where I’m not having fun. Why am I doing this?”

The circumstances clearly changed as he grew older and progressed through his racing career, but all still comes down to the same emotional connection. As with any profession, there wasn’t that excitement and enthusiasm from him to continue.

It’s a situation that everyone goes through when choosing when to step into retirement. In Stewart’s case, his father long ago provided him the mental groundwork to decide when to call it a career.

Future remains forever tied to NASCAR


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Since stepping into retirement, Tony Stewart has remained around NASCAR.

Stewart holds 50%ownership in Stewart-Haas Racing that came about in 2009. He spent the last eight years of his racing career with the company and has since remained heavily involved.

His race team currently includes five drivers, with Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer, and Riley Herbst. Stewart is helping launch Superstar Racing Experience, which will make its debut this summer.

The 49-year-old has dipped into contributing to the media broadcast for NASCAR’s 2021 season. He made his debut last year in the Fox broadcast booth by calling an Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Stewart was apart of coverage for the 2021 Daytona 500, which he came away quite pleased with the experience. Beyond all that, his presence around the sport will continue to remain strong for years to come.

Racing statistics courtesy of Racing-Reference.