Stewart to Leave Gibbs, Become Owner-Driver in '09

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - Next year, Tony Stewart will get a chance to experience victory lane as a team owner as well as a driver.

The two-time Cup series champion announced today he'll join the team currently known as Haas-CNC as an owner-driver in 2009.

Stewart will be given 50 percent ownership stake in the team, which will be renamed Stewart-Haas Racing. The two-car team currently fields the No. 66 car for Scott Riggs and the No. 70 car for Jason Leffler.

Both of those cars are outside the top 35 in owners points going into Saturday's race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Stewart recently negotiated his release from Joe Gibbs Racing.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)