Long before Tony Stewart announced last September that the 2016 season would be his last in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, we knew the time was nearing where we’d have to say “goodbye” to the fan favorite.

Although this upcoming season marks his last behind the wheel of his No. 14 Chevrolet SS, he’s not leaving the sport or racing completely behind. That’s not his nature.

If there is one thing Stewart is, it’s a racer. Racing is who he is and has been doing for most of his life … and he’s succeeded his entire career – and it doesn’t matter what type of vehicle it is. He first found success in a go-kart when he won the International Kart Federation Grand National title in 1983.

Since then, he hasn’t stopped winning. By the time he joined NASCAR’s premier series in 1999, he had already amassed a slew of championships and the acclaim that goes along with them. In 1987, he captured the World Karting Association title.

Stewart won the 1994 USAC National Midget championship, and followed that up by sweeping the championships in the USAC Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown classes in 1995 – the first driver to accomplish the feat.

He burst into the spotlight in 1997 by winning the IndyCar Series Championship, only one year after winning series Rookie of the Year. He didn’t stop competing in other forms of racing even after reaching the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – what most people consider the pinnacle of the motorsports world. He continued to compete in sprint car main events, even winning his second and third World of Outlaws A Mains. And in 2012, he won the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown charity late model race at Richmond International Raceway.

Despite his love and knack for competing in all forms of racing, it was in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series where Stewart (aka Smoke, The Columbus Comet) cemented his name in the annals of motorsports lore.

As Stewart enters his 18th and final season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, he already boasts a resume that most drivers would be envious of. He already has 48 wins in the series to his credit, tying him for 13th on the all-time wins list with Herb Thomas, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013 – a place Stewart will one day enter.

In addition to his victories, he has three championships in the premier series. Only four drivers have more titles than he does: Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who retired at the end of the 2015 season.  He’s in pretty esteemed company in the “Three-Time” club, where he sits alongside Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Letty Petty.

His first two titles came with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2002 and 2005, when he drove the No. 20. He holds the unique distinction of being the only driver in NASCAR history to have won a series title pre-Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and under the Chase format.

His third title came in 2011, ending Jimmie Johnson’s streak of five consecutive titles. He also became the first driver-owner since Alan Kulwicki won the championship in 1992. Stewart co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing with Gene Haas and drives the No. 14 Chevrolet SS for the organization. Clint Bowyer will take over from Stewart in the No. 14 car in 2017.

In NASCAR’s other two national series, Stewart has also found his way to Victory Lane, winning 11 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and twice in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Of the 21 tracks he won at in the premier series, he has multiple wins at 15 of them, winning five times at Watkins Glen International and four times at Daytona International Speedway. There are only two tracks on the current schedule at which he hasn’t won – Darlington Raceway and Kentucky Speedway.

Although he has four wins at the “World Center of Racing,” none of those victories have come in the sport’s biggest race – the Daytona 500. He hopes that will all change this February, when he makes his 18th start in the “Great American Race.”

Not only has the 44-year-old excelled on the track, he’s prospered in other areas of his life. His list of awards and distinctions is as long as it is impressive. In 2004, he was named the USA Weekend Magazine’s 2004 Most Caring Athlete. That same year, he was pronounced the USG Driver of the Year for charitable efforts. In the past, he’s donated several million dollars to Victory Junction. In 2010, he won the NMPA Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic work, which includes the Tony Stewart Foundation.

Once he’s hung up his driving gloves for good, Stewart plans to stay involved in the sport … just not driving in the premier series. He bought the dirt track, Eldora Speedway, located in Rossburg, Ohio, and in 2013 the trucks competed there on dirt for the first time in series history. He will remain involved as a co-owner of his NASCAR team. His ownership responsibilities reach beyond NASCAR (World of Outlaws and USAC) and he’ll continue on in that capacity as well.

Considering all he has achieved on track as well as off it, it is easy to understand why Lionel Racing is excited to celebrate Stewart’s legendary career with an iconic die-cast.

Lionel Racing is excited to introduce Stewart’s first die-cast in the ICON Collection – the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS. Mobil 1 has partnered with Stewart as a primary sponsor on his No. 14 Chevrolet since the 2011 season. Together, they’ve visited Victory Lane nine times and captured the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

For more information on Stewart’s No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS ICON die-cast or the ICON Collection, please visit: www.lionelicons.com.