Stewart extends Joe Gibbs Racing contract

Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing have concluded a long-term contract extension that will keep the defending NASCAR champion with the team until the end of 2009. Team sources have also indicated that General Motors and sponsor Home Depot will also be on board for the same stretch of time

Stewart extends Joe Gibbs Racing contract

The announcement puts to rest persistent rumours that have followed Stewart all summer, with some reporting that he planned to leave the team when his prior contract ended after 2004, perhaps to sign on with Chip Ganassi. Stewart did little to quell those rumours, saying he was signed through next year and that he had been too busy to consider JGR's offer of an extension.

Stewart's season has not been as tumultuous as his 2002 was, but neither has it been as fulfilling. Through 24 races, Stewart has won just once, at Pocono in June, and is a lowly 11th in the championship standings. He likely could have won four or five more races except for mechanical trouble and other errors.

"I'm happy to have all of this worked out," said Stewart. "Joe Gibbs and everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing have been very good to me in the seven years I've been here. They've always given me everything I need out on the race track, and they've always been there to support me off the track as well. It's a very tight-knit group of hard-working people, and I look forward to spending another six years with them.

"Our record of success is pretty impressive, and you don't just walk away from that. I did have some very flattering offers, and it felt good to be a wanted man, but Joe Gibbs Racing and Home Depot wanted me too, and staying at a place I call home just made sense."

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