Tony Stewart Signs with Gibbs Racing thru 2009

Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart ended speculation about his future by agreeing Thursday to a five-year contract extension that will keep him with Joe Gibbs Racing through 2009. Financial terns of the deal were not disclosed.

"I'm happy to have all of this worked out," said Stewart, who races Sunday in the Southern 500. "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."

Stewart has had problems controlling his temper, and finished his championship season on probation after a series of off-track issues. But this has been a tranquil year for him even though he has just one victory and is 11th in points.

The 32-year-old driver, who had a year remaining on his contract with Gibbs, had been considering a move to Chip Ganassi's Dodge team and had been given a deadline of last Friday.

"We gave him an offer," Ganassi said. "The deadline came and went, and a few days later he re-signed with Gibbs."

The automaker also had been involved in discussions, but Stewart said duplicating the Gibbs' record would be difficult.

Our record of success is pretty impressive," Stewart said. "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."

Gibbs also has been negotiating for an extension with Home Depot _ Stewart's sponsor since his record-setting 1999 rookie season _ and crew chief Greg Zipadelli


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