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Old 07-09-2008, 12:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: tony stewart leaving gibbs- joining haas/cnc in 09

Stewart granted release from JGR

Joe Gibbs Racing will release Tony Stewart from his contract at the end of the season, ending an incredibly successful decade in which they won two championships and turned the organization into one of NASCAR's best

Stewart was expected to address JGR employees Wednesday, but his release, which J.D. Gibbs called "bittersweet," was announced by the team.

"While this moment is bittersweet, we're parting on good terms and we know that each of us has benefited greatly from the other," Gibbs said in the statement.

Stewart's departure opens the door for him to buy a NASCAR team. He's had an offer since April to purchase the fledgling Haas-CNC two-car team.

Stewart could announce as early as Thursday that he's acquired majority ownership of Haas, which has been run by general manager Joe Custer since owner Gene Haas began serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion in January.

He's expected to drive one of the cars, while fellow Indiana native Ryan Newman is believed to be in the running for the second seat. Newman has been noncommittal on his future plans, and the Daytona 500 winner is in the final year of his contract with Penske Racing.

Stewart, who owns several sprint car teams and a trio of race tracks — including famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio — will likely model his NASCAR team after the Gibbs organization. Owner Joe Gibbs has supported Stewart unequivocally through a tumultuous 10 years that saw the temperamental driver punch a photographer, engage in run-ins with fellow drivers, fans and the media, and often fall on NASCAR's bad side through his jaw-dropping candor and sharp wit.

In memory of my brother Michael, who gave me my love of sports. I will miss you!
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