As Tony Stewart sluggishly finishes up his last season in the No. 20 car of Joe Gibbs Racing to embark on a new challenge as team owner and first driver, you can't help but think of Michael Waltrip just a bit.
Sure, Waltrip was the guinea pig for Toyota Racing, and he took a lot of heat for it, but now as Toyota is beginning to show what a force they are in Stock Car racing, Stewart decides he's going back to his roots with Chevrolet.
I understand that it's a great opportunity to be part owner of your own Cup race team, but at what cost?
Now he has to take a second-rate team with inferior equipment and build a champion, and do so with a manufacturer who is falling behind the pace of Toyota and the boys at Roush.
I really hope Tony succeeds in this venture, but as a guy who's never been the friendliest with the media, he's not only a driver, but also the face of an entire organization. In a struggling economy, you better believe those sponsors are watching closely.
Although Tony's growth and maturity have undoubtedly progressed in the last few years, I worry that the old Tony will show up when he's fighting to stay in 35th rather than first place.