Stewart-Haas Set For Debut

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It won't be long before the new Stewart-Haas Racing team rolls into action at Daytona International Speedway and teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are ready to go.

After first announcing his foray into team ownership last July, two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to finally see his operation in action.

But Stewart admits that since his decision to become an owner-driver, he's had some sleepless nights wondering what the future will hold.

"Absolutely," Stewart said. "About every other night there's a moment where I wake up, but I say that with Eldora Speedway still. I say that with my World of Outlaw teams, my USAC teams. But as scary as it probably should be, it hasn't been. I've been really comfortable with everything that we've done so far and I think a lot of that is the fact that I feel like I have good people around me. I have people that I can trust, I have people that everything that they do, they do in our best interest as an organization and they know how I feel about how important family is and how much emphasis I've put on that with this race team.

"When you have guys around you that understand your philosophy and understand your mindset going into it and adopt that and go out and make it happen, that takes a lot of that fear away I guess. So when you do go to bed at night, you can relax a little bit. Those guys are all comfortable with where we're at getting ready for Daytona. I look out there and go 'there's not enough cars ready yet.' That's what having those guys there saying 'we're alright. Everything's fine. It's coming along. Don't worry; we're going to be fine. That's the stuff that makes it easier each day."

Stewart and Newman will pilot Chevrolets in an alignment with Hendrick Motorsports, a partnership that Stewart believes will give the new team the resources needed to compete right out of the box.

"I think it's realistic," Stewart said of competing for a title in 2009. "We wouldn't have taken this opportunity if we didn't think it was realistic to be in the Chase and have a shot at winning races and winning the championship. Now whether that happens or not obviously will wait to be seen. We feel like we have the tools in place to do that."

For Newman, making the call to join Stewart in the new venture was an opportunity he did not want to miss. After making the decision to leave Penske Racing, Newman knew partnering up with Stewart was exactly where he wanted to take the next stage of his career.

"I'd say easily three to four other offers to go to teams," Newman said of his departure from Penske. "Not all of them made it to paper, but I had more than one of them on paper. I felt very blessed to be in that position.

"Tony and I grew up very similar, in essence of the USAC racing days and the open wheel racing. I think secondly, we enjoy the outdoors. We enjoy fishing and hunting, and we can both be totally satisfied on our tractors moving dirt from nine in the morning until five at night. We both do it at different times in different states. Those are things we enjoy."

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