Stewart's frustration part of the reason for retirement
ony Stewart admits he faces "a very steep, uphill battle" to avoid elimination Sunday from the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Dover International Speedway. But he also readily admits that there's only so much he can do, and the frustration that the driver plays only so much -- or so little -- of a role in a sport that has become increasingly reliant on engineering is one of the reasons he will retire from Cup racing after this season. "When we come off the truck [on Friday], we fight the same thing for three days and there's nothing I can do to fix it," Stewart told reporters Wednesday during a NASCAR-mandated media tour as part of his Chase obligations. "That's what's so frustrating for me as a driver. That is part of why I'm ready to do something different is because I can't make a difference anymore. I can't do different things with my feet and different things with my hands and run a different line and fix the problem. I used to be able to do that. I can't do that anymore. You just get so frustrated you can't see straight." The three-time Cup champion joked about trying to not get suspended for his final eight races if he said too much, acknowledging he is exhausted from trying to play a role of outspoken veteran in a sport where he believes the drivers are often afraid to share their feelings. "You can only beat the drum for so long and it can only fall on deaf ears for so long before you finally say, 'The people that need to make it better can't make it better,'" the 45-year-old Stewart said. Stewart said "I've had my fill of fighting the fight" as the driver to draw attention to issues of the way the sport operates." While Stewart plans to retire from Cup racing, he said he has told his sprint-car team management to be ready for him to run 40-50 races next season. He will have to wait until February to race because he will have the screws taken out of his back in December. He said his first race next year will be on pavement and will be in someone else's equipment but he wouldn't reveal more than that.