CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Joe Gibbs racing has agreed to let driver Tony Stewart out of his contract at the end of the season. It was due to expire at the finish of the 2009 campaign.
JGR president J.D. Gibbs says they are parting on good terms but it is nevertheless a "bittersweet moment."
With 32 career victories, Cup championships in 2002 and 2005 and more than 68 million dollars in winnings, it's been one of the most steady and successful partnerships in NASCAR history.
JGR wanted Stewart to sign an extension beyond his current contract and run his entire career in the Number 20 car. But, the 37-year-old Stewart became intrigued with the idea of becoming a team owner and his departure opens the door for that option.
In fact, Stewart has called a news conference tomorrow at Chicagoland Speedway, when he is expected to announce he's purchased majority ownership in the fledgling Haas-CNC two-car team.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)