So, you're a NASCAR driver racing for the top team in the sport. You haven't had that great of a first half, but it's okay. You've been in contract negotiations and you normally hit your stride during the summer months anyway. Someone comes to you and offers you the ability to own your Chevrolet team for 2009. What do you do?
Well if you're Tony Stewart you leave Joe Gibbs Racing, gain 51 percent ownership in Haas Racing, and return to Chevrolet. This is the worst career decision he has ever made. After this he will have no career. He will be only the shell of a great driver that could've been.
Obviously Stewart did not talk to previous drivers about their experiences as an owner/driver. He didn't talk to Darrell Waltrip about his winning only five races while he owned his own team, or Bill Elliott who never won a race as an owner, or even Michael Waltrip whose teams have yet to win a race. What would give Tony the notion this would be a good idea?
All the analysts are saying this decision harkens back to the day of Richard Petty owning his own team and how great that was, etc. Give me a break. Richard's family did all of the day to day work on the car and in the shop. David Pearson? No. Cale? No. Darrell? No. Dale? No.
Tony left the best team in NASCAR, which is only on the rise, to form his own race team with a manufacturer who is cutting back spending by $10 billion this coming year. Toyota's money will continue to rise in the sport while Chevrolet, Ford, and Chrysler's will continue to decline. Why not stay with Toyota?
I just don't understand the advantages of this decision for Stewart. Is he selfish and greedy, and wants all the spotlight to himself? If this is the case, I can understand. I just don't get why he didn't at least look at two of the sport's great drivers and realize their ownership mistakes, and not make them himself.
But alas, we have witnessed Tony's last championship and possibly his last win as well, until he goes back to driving for a team, much like Elliott did when he sold his team to Ray Evernham.