Stewart confirms plans to co-own Haas CNC Racing, join team in 2009

Tony Stewart formally announced today that he will be a driver and co-owner of Haas CNC Racing next season. The new team will compete as Stewart Haas Racing.

Click here to download and view a news conference with Tony Stewart and Haas General Manager Joe Custer 44 minutes, 50 seconds

In a news conference at Chicagoland Speedway, Stewart outlined his plans for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The announcement came a day after Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed that the driver had opted out of the final year of his contract with the organization.

"Obviously this is a huge day for me; this is a huge turning point in my career," Stewart said in making the announcement.

Stewart, who has spent 10 years and won two Cup titles with Joe Gibbs Racing and The Home Depot as his sponsor, already owns teams competing in the United States Auto Club and World of Outlaws, but this will be his first foray into Cup ownership. Sources have indicated he has obtained sponsorship from Office Depot and possibly Old Spice, though that was not part of the initial announcement.

"This was a long process. This was not something that was easy, by any means, and we did weigh our options … The opportunity to have ownership in our race team was something that was, in my opinion, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Stewart said.

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