For some time now, rumors have been flying around the NASCAR pits about Tony Stewart's future with Joe Gibbs Racing. Many speculators felt certain that Stewart would break out of his Gibbs Racing contract for a chance at part ownership of the Haas/CNC team. However, both sides assured that any resolution would not be reported before season end. Not quite. possibly tiring of incessant media questioning, the official details have now been made public. Joe Gibbs Racing will in fact be releasing Tony Stewart from his contract a year early. As expected Stewart will take on a part ownership role with HAAS/CNC, set to become Stewart Haas Racing.

The deal leaves no burned bridges between Stewart and his ten-year home though, as both parties stand to gain plenty. After all, it's rumored that Stewart's move will award him the largest salary in NASCAR. Not to mention that Joe Gibbs Racing has a stable of eager up and coming drivers willing to jump in the empty seat. Part of the deal also assures that all of the Home Depot car's talented crew stay a part of Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart's new role as owner sees him moving from Home Depot sponsorship to the more fitting corporate image of Office Depot.

[Source: ESPN, Image: Geoff Burke/Getty]