Stewart Released from Gibbs Racing
As all have heard it’s official that at the end of the 2008 NASCAR season Tony Stewart will be parting ways with his long-time team at Joe Gibbs Racing. This is the biggest domino to fall into place.
The #20 Home Depot team had hit a rash of bad luck this season. The speculation since Talladega weekend of Tony Stewart leaving did not help matters. Tony Stewart put it best in his on-air appearance last week in Daytona on TNT Pre-Race Show, “Are we there yet?”
Well we’re there now! Media and fans alike can now stop wondering and asking the question of his future. Stewart Haas Racing will make its debut at the Daytona 500 in 2009.
There’s still a lot of racing to be done this season. The focus now should be on the current season and winning a championship.
Stewart is currently 12th in the Cup standards, falling from 9th after having to relinquish command of his #20 Home Depot Toyota last week during the Coke Zero 400 due to illness.
Part of the agreement that Tony had to sign to be released from JGR was he would not try to lure any of the #20 Home Depot team away from JGR. Greg Zipadelli will be staying with JGR and it will be ending the longest run of driver/crew chief relationship. Tony and Zippy have been together since 1998 when they started in racing together. Zippy and Tony will continue to be friends for a very long time to come.
This is a bittersweet day for Stewart because he has known no other NASCAR team except for Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart always thought that he would continue to race for JGR and retire there, but the opportunity of ownership was too great and once-in-a-lifetime. He needed to grab the golden ring and take the leap as owner/driver.
Stewart has had great success with ownership with his three racetracks and four open-wheel teams. This will just be another opportunity to expound on what we already see in his bright future and successful life.
In this reporter’s opinion, this will set Stewart’s name in the record books and in NASCAR history and preserve a legacy.
We wish you well Smoke!
Story by: Debbie Kuhn
Track Reporter for LuvRacin.com
July 9, 2008 – 7:30 p.m.