It's an irrefutable fact: The first day a driver steps into a NASCAR Sprint Cup car is also the beginning of the end of his driving career. Sure, he may go on to race 20 or 30 years, win dozens of races and even win a few championships along the way, but sooner or later he'll go from racer to former racer.
If a driver is smart, watches his money and is inclined to want to stay in the game once his driving career is over, one of the next most logical steps is to become a team owner.
Jeff Gordon was perhaps ahead of the curve, joining team owner Rick Hendrick more than a decade ago as co-owners of what became the six-time championship-winning No. 48 team headed by driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus.
Tony Stewart also did so early, unable to pass up the opportunity in 2009 for a 50 percent equity stake in what was Haas-CNC Racing, which morphed into Stewart-Haas Racing once Stewart decided to leave Joe Gibbs Racing to become a driver-owner.
Let's face it, a number of current Sprint Cup stars are starting to move into the twilight of their racing careers. They'd be foolish not to start thinking ahead to what their post-racing lives will be like.
Some, like Jeff Burton, will move into the broadcast booth (he's already signed to do so when NBC starts televising NASCAR races in 2015). But there are other drivers who could potentially make the move to team ownership if they can put their money together with other investors and find some solid sponsors.
Let's take a look at 10 current NASCAR drivers who may not be all that far away from transitioning to NASCAR team owners.