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Stewart talks about options in NASCAR

Tony Stewart has spent nearly a decade with Joe Gibbs Racing and has 32 victories and two series titles there.

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Tony Stewart has spent nearly a decade with Joe Gibbs Racing and has 32 victories and two series titles there.

There are reasons to be skeptical about Tony Stewart's apparent ruminations over the end phase of his driving career.

After Wednesday's reports on SI.com and ESPN.com that the two-time Sprint Cup champion was discussing his future options — including getting out of the final year of his contract in 2009 with Joe Gibbs Racing — the often private, sometimes prickly 36-year-old spoke at length on the subject Thursday at Talladega Superspeedway. Unusual.

He floated that several opportunities have been presented since he made it known in the offseason that he had not yet re-signed with JGR, with which he had raced (and won 32 times) since his rookie year in 1999. Some, he said, "have really caught our interest."

There was talk of his relationship with Chevrolet, which supports his sprint car operation and had backed JGR until the team switched to Toyota beginning this season. There was talk of buying a stake in financially and competitively scuttling Haas CNC and racing there.

Compelling, but it must be remembered that Stewart has done this all before. He leveraged a lucrative offer from Chip Ganassi (with whom he made his last Indianapolis 500 start in 2001) into an even more gainful extension with Gibbs in 2003.

Certainly, stars move — see: Earnhardt, Dale Jr. So do those nearing the end — see: Martin, Mark. But this just feels odd.

Driving Richard Childress Racing's new fourth Cup entry next season would be a better option. Maybe Childress could allow Stewart to buy into the vineyard and slide him some of that beef stock.

For more on whether Stewart should stay or go, see 2C

Stewart talks about options in NASCAR 04/25/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 11:20pm]

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