Tony just being Tony

April, 24, 2008

Tony Stewart was in a good mood just more than two weeks ago when he visited Detroit to promote the Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in June.

He sat down with the gathered media, and I had a chance to ask him a few questions. His answers now seem more interesting in light of recent reports that Stewart may leave Joe Gibbs Racing.

I asked him whether he had started negotiating with JGR even though he's under contract through 2009, and I also asked him if he's still thinking about that idle retirement threat he threw out last year.

"In all honesty, I've had more fun this year," Stewart said. "We haven't got a win yet, [but] I've had more fun with my team this year than we've ever had. Zippy and I are communicating better than we ever had. I'll be honest, even without a win this year, I feel like I've driven some of the best races of my career this year that nobody would notice just watching the races. ... So, real happy with everything going on at JGR. Happy with Zippy, happy with the guys."

Then there was a lengthy pause. Stewart played it perfectly. I admit, I was sucked in and thought he was about to make a HUGE hint at a HUGE upcoming announcement.

"At the end of next year I'm thinking seriously of a career change," Stewart said.


"I think I might go monster truck racing," he said. "I'm just not sure yet."

Funny guy. But back to the questions. I asked him if he saw himself finishing his career with JGR?

"I always have from Day 1," Stewart said. "There's nothing broke there right now, so there's nothing that needs to be fixed. Joe [Gibbs] is a great great friend. He's the guy I go to when I need advice for my race teams. He's my team coach, I guess, so when I have a problem at my race shops, he's the guy I go to when I need to ask, 'Hey, how do I need to handle this problem?'"

I wonder what Gibbs' advice might be now.
Angelique S. Chengelis is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.


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