NASCAR & Auto Racing

Stewart gearing up for emotional end of Gibbs run

Tony Stewart bubbles with enthusiasm when he discusses the new team he's building, even while acknowledging that it is exhausting doing that and racing.

He's also bracing for an emotional time ahead, especially at Homestead in the final race of the season, which will also be his last with Greg Zipadelli as his crew chief. The tandem has been together at Joe Gibbs Racing for 10 years and has won two series championships.

"We've been thinking about it ever since we said we were going to make a change," Stewart said. "Every week that it gets closer, the reality sets in more that it is coming to an end, but the great thing is, we don't talk about it, we don't think about it. When we come to the race track, we do our job and do it the way that we've always done it for 10 years.

"I think Homestead is where it's really going to be obviously huge for all of us."

The team is not dwelling on the impending split, Stewart said, but instead "coming to the track and doing what we do best every week, and that's going out and trying to win races."

And when time allows, or demands, Stewart turns his attention to next season, when he will be a part owner and he and Ryan Newman will be the drivers for Stewart-Haas Racing.

"It's a lot different that just showing up, putting the uniform on and getting in the car for sure, and that's a busy enough job," Stewart said of also being a team owner.

"But it's the most excited I've been in a long time."

JGR president J.D. Gibbs expects the finale to be emotional, too.

"I think there'll be a lot," he said. "I think with Tony, it's 10 years in Cup, but he was here two years before that, so we knew him. We were about the same age when he first got here and got to hang out and kind of walk him through when he was nervous going to his Nationwide stuff and his first Cup race. All that stuff was kind of nerve wracking, and it was kind of fun to watch all the success that he's had, on the track and off. It'll be sad."