Tony Stewart: Why He's Moving On in 2009

Mike DiMauro@miked31784Senior Writer IJune 9, 2008

There have been rumors going around that Tony Stewart wants to leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2008. Everyone thinks that Stewart knows his decision, but it is not yet known to the public.

Stewart, who began with the Open Wheel and Indy Racing Leagues, moved over to NASCAR in 1998. He started his NASCAR career in the Busch Series, where he finished the season 15th in the points standings. In 1999, Stewart would jump into the famous No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac for the first time.

He would finish the 1999 season in fourth place and received Rookie of the Year. In 2000, Stewart would go on to win six races and finish in sixth place. In 2001, he would finish second in the standings to four-time champion Jeff Gordon. He would win his first NASCAR Championship in 2002, with his second coming in 2005.

In 2006, Stewart missed the chase by 16 points, when Kasey Kahne won the race at Richmond. He would return to the chase in 2007 and finish in sixth.

The 2008 season has not been good for Stewart so far. He is currently in the last spot to make the chase and he is seven points in front of David Ragan. His best finish was second at Atlanta this spring.

If Stewart continues having problems driving Toyotas, he will want to leave Gibbs at the end of the season. Ever since Stewart came into NASCAR, he has done well with General Motors (Pontiac & Chevrolet), winning his two champions with that manufacturer.

Stewart would want to go to a team that runs Chevys. His new teams could be:

Childress: They are planning to start a fourth team, and are looking for a driver to fill the No. 33 car.

Haas: They have been struggling this year looking for a driver for the No. 70 car. Mayfield left after a few races, and Schrader and Leffler have been in and out of the car. Haas has also offered him a chance to become co-owner of the team.

DEI: Paul Menard's contract with the team ends at the end of the season. If they do not extend Menard's contract, expect Stewart to be on the list to replace him as the driver for the team.

Hendrick: The announcement about Casey Mears leaving the #5 has put Tony Stewart and Mark Martin (with Brad Keselowski sharing the ride with him) on the top of the list.

Stewart should have a decision soon, and when he does, everyone will know where he'll be in 2009.

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