Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | 11:31 a.m.
So, Tony Stewart is taking the money and running away from Joe Gibbs Racing – the team with which he has won 32 races and two championships – for co-ownership of Haas CNC Racing.
That’s the same Haas CNC Racing that never has won a NASCAR Cup race and never has finished better than 21st in points in five full seasons at the NASCAR Cup level.
Maybe Stewart’s decision wasn’t based solely on money (his new deal reportedly will make him the highest-paid driver in NASCAR). Perhaps it was his desire to drive Chevrolets again or maybe it was the urge to be his own boss that fueled Stewart’s decision to leave one of the top teams in the sport for one that consistently runs in the second half of the field. And maybe Stewart believes he has the talent to turn an also-ran into a contender.
On that last point, maybe Stewart can get into one of the Haas CNC cars and put it near the front of the field on talent alone. But Stewart should have consulted with another former series champion, Kurt Busch, before he made the move. After winning 14 races and a championship in five seasons with Roush Racing, Busch left that team for what he perceived as greener pastures – and more money – with Penske Racing.
How has that move worked out for Busch? Sure, he’s making a lot more money than he did with Roush, but he’s not having nearly the success with Penske that he had with Roush.
If you thought Stewart had anger management issues before when he was winning races with JGR, what’s he going to be like when he starts finishing 30th every week while his new team goes through the normal growing pains? If nothing else, it’s going to be fun to watch.