New Era Begins For Stewart In 51st Annual Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 21, 2008) – Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will be wearing two hats in next year’s season-opening 51st annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 15 at Daytona International Speedway.
Tony Stewart Announces Stewart-Haas Racing
Robin Braig on the 51st annual Daytona 500 and Stewart-Haas Racing
Stewart recently announced at Chicagoland Speedway that he will leave Joe Gibbs Racing at season’s end to become a driver/co-owner of Stewart Haas Racing, a two-car team currently known as Haas CNC Racing.
Stewart spent his entire career at Joe Gibbs Racing and won two Sprint Cup Series championships. At DIS, Stewart, who has yet to win a Daytona 500, has 12 career wins including two Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola victories in 2005 and 2006.
A car number and sponsor for Stewart and the plans for the second Stewart Haas team haven’t been finalized.
But one thing fans know for sure is that their first chance to see Stewart with his new team and colors will be during DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009.
“The 51st annual Daytona 500 will be the beginning of a new era in the career of Tony Stewart,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “For Tony, there’s no better way to start this new foray into team ownership than winning NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race.”
For Stewart, the career move was appealing because he wanted to feel the satisfaction of winning as both a driver and car owner.
“To have opportunities to put my name in the record books as a car owner now is something that I’m excited about,” Stewart said. “I know what it feels like to win as a driver but I know after winning the Chili Bowl what it’s like to win as an owner.
“To sit there in winner’s circle and climb out of a car that I know I had a part in building that team. That was a feeling that I’ve never had before and to now have that opportunity to do that here with Haas CNC Racing.”
“I’m excited about having that opportunity. I’m excited about the fact that I feel like we can go to Daytona and we have the opportunity to go there and win the Daytona 500 and stand there and climb out of my own car with my own guys and my own operation and be there as champions. That’s an aspect that I’m hopefully going to get a chance to experience that and enjoy that.”
Tickets for the 51st annual Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 events are available online at http://www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.