Tony Stewart is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2008 season that was full of close calls and heartaches. His season ended with a ninth-place points finish and a trip back to Joe Gibbs Racing.
His 2009 season starts with a trip to Daytona, a new car and number, a clean start, and the title of driver/owner.
However, having a fresh start and the title of owner doesn't automatically mean everything is going to run smoothly. As other driver/owners such as Michael Waltrip and Robby Gordon can attest, it can be a very rough and bumpy ride. Responsibilities range from trying to keep sponsors, getting good enough equipment and parts for the cars, and winning races.
But Tony doesn't look at it that way. He sees an opportunity to expand his knowledge of the sport even more by rolling his sleeves up and not only racing, but getting involved in all the different aspects of being an owner. Tony has been known for being an in-your-face type of racer with a not-so-discreet temper. But that's what makes this new adventure so exciting.
Having an attitude like that, along with his knowledge of the sport and his passion to be great, make me believe that this transition will be a good one. However, he's going to need to be patient and learn from his mistakes.
It's possible that it may take most of the 2009 season, or it may happen as quickly as Daytona, but rest assured, Tony will be in the winners' circle and doing great things at Stewart-Haas Racing in the near-future.
So, get the image of that orange No. 20 car out of your head (as it now belongs to Joey Logano,) put on your Office Depot and Old Spice hat, turn those TV's on and get ready to see Smoke drive that red No. 14 car into the winners' circle.