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Jackie Stewart

Went Out On Top

After a lackluster 1967 season with BRM, Stewart had outgrown the fading team, and signed on to drive once again for Ken Tyrell, who was heading up a new F1 team. The German Grand Prix at Nurburgring may be Stewart's greatest race, according to Formula One Art & Genius online. He drove the fourteen-mile, 187-corner track in torrential rain and with a broken wrist, and beat Graham Hill to the finish line. "I can't remember doing one more balls-out lap of the 'Ring than I needed to," he is quoted as saying online at Formula One Art & Genius. "It gave you amazing satisfaction, but anyone who says he loved it is either a liar or wasn't going fast enough." Stewart lost the World Championship to Hill that year, coming in second, but clinched his first World Championship title in Tyrell's Matra-Ford in 1969. He qualified at the front of the pack often during the 1970 season, but did not regain the World Championship until 1971. Stomach ulcers kept him off the track for many races of the 1972 season, but returned in 1973 to drive another World Championship season. Unknown to his fans, Stewart had decided early in the season that the year would be his last.

Just thirty-four years old, Stewart announced his retirement in 1973, after winning his third Grand Prix title. "The key in life," Stewart told Sports Illustrated in 2002, "is deciding when to go into something and when to get out of it." He broke Jim Clark's record with twenty-seven career Grands Prix out of 99 entered, a record that remained until Alain Prost broke it in 1987. He was named both Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, and Wide World of Sport's Athlete of the Year, an honor he shared that year with football player O.J. Simpson. Stewart, who has admitted that he "got big-headed" during this time, according to ABC Sports online, is also quick to point out, humorously, that the race horse Secretariat was chosen third for the ABC honor. Secretariat apparently was not in contention for the World, British, and Scottish Sportsman of the Year awards, which Stewart also won in 1973. Stewart had managed to become a legendary racing driver while remaining alive and in one piece, which is in itself an accomplishment.

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Famous Sports StarsAuto RacingJackie Stewart Biography - Put Down Gun To Get Behind Wheel, Survived Near-fatal Crash A Champion, Chronology