Tony Stewart Considers Gibbs Racing Departure and Team Ownership?

nascar driver tony stewart home depotSo what section of the paper has Tony Stewart been reading anyway? Perhaps comparing Home Depot stock to that of Lowe’s and Menard’s? Or maybe the grocery store sale flyers for specials on Schlitz? Well, it seems the Classifieds or Employment section would be your best guess.

Earlier this evening SI.com’s Tom Bowles broke news on what is sure to be the hottest silly season topic of the year when he reported that Stewart is in talks to leave Gibbs.

Read the story for full details, but the short of it is that Tony isn’t just considering other teams, but apparently is taking a fancy to the thought of owning a team as well. One scenario floated is a 50/50 ownership in HAAS CNC Racing. This scenario would put Tony back into GM’s Chevrolet cars, the manufacturer he has driven for throughout most of his career. He was in Pontiacs when he first came to Cup racing with Joe Gibbs Racing and then the team switched to the Chevrolet models. Also, GM sponsors Stewart’s open wheel sprint car program.

While I’m not surprised that the rumor mill has Tony going back to Chevrolets, I am surprised this sort of news is breaking this early in the season. The success Toyota, Gibbs Racing, Stewart and his teammates have seen so far this year also makes the news more surprising. Both Kyle Bush and Denny Hamlin have wins, and Stewart has been right there close to winning himself. So it’s not like Tony is having a terrible year now that the Gibbs team went to Toyota.

I never was really fully convinced that Tony was happy with JGR moving over to Toyotas though. (Not that this breaking news proves one way or the other.) However, I’d be willing to bet that while Tony may prefer to be in Chevys, he’s a fiercely competitive racer and so long as he’s competitive on the track then he will “shut up and drive” for the most part.

Here is what I predict for the very short term (too early to make any sort of guess on what will actually happen, or how much of this story is true). The media will surely be all over this story for the upcoming weeks months. No doubt Tony phony newspaper classified adwill be constantly barraged with the same questions over and over again. It will be interesting to see how he handles it. I’m sure we’ll get to see some of his smart-ass replies to those truly dumb questions that will undoubtedly get asked. The end result will be a ticked-off Stewart. When Stewart is hot under the collar, there are 42 other drivers who have something to be worried about. This news (even if it’s completely untrue) very well may kick-start Tony’s season a little earlier than when we’re used to seeing him go on a winning tear.

For the record, earlier this week I submitted my selection of Tony Stewart for the Expert’s Picks page. This news makes me all the more confident in my pick for Stewart to win the Aarons 499 at Talladega this Sunday.

So, what do you think of this news? Should Stewart stay with Gibbs for the rest of his contract (through 2009)? Should he stick with Gibbs for his career? Does the CNC HAAS Racing theory sound like a promising option?