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Huntersville, NC – One more loose end in the silly season was tied up Tuesday morning in Huntersville, NC. The Joe Gibbs Racing Team has announced that they signed James Stewart to a three-year deal to race both Supercross and Motoc
ross. If he wins a championship in either series during the first two years he will have the option of racing Supercross only for the third year.
Everyone present at the JGR headquarters were in high spirits as the announcement was made. In addition to the JGR #7 machine being prominently displayed, there was a Toyota Tundra with another YZ-450F in the back as well as a tock car emblazoned with the JSE logo and he number 7. Stewart said his intention was to complete his motocross career with JGR and then move over to the cup side of the operation. He will be doing some testing in a lat model race car in Boston next week.
Speed TV’s Ralph Sheheen emceed the event. Speakers included Joe Gibbs, Coy Gibbs, Keith from Yamaha, and, of course James Stewart. “What is so special to me is not that we have James, but that James chose us. He could have gone anywhere he wanted to race motorcycles and he chose Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Coy Gibbs. “We have laid a great foundation for our team, but we feel, when you have the caliber of people that we have here at JGR, that it is time to compete for championships. We feel like that is what James brings to the table.”
“One thing about Coach [Gibbs] – he called me every day for the last three months and he never called me from the same number twice,” Stewart said. “He would call me and say, ‘You know I want you.’ I felt like this was the place I wanted to be.”
The JGR MX team will field two bikes again in 2012, but no announcement was made concerning who would ride the other bike. The team has a list of riders they will be talking to in the coming weeks.
While the field is certainly deep, the general consensus around the industry is that this partnership makes James Stewart the favorite to win both the Monster Energy Supercross Championship and the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The single biggest factor is that Stewart will be able to focus 100% on racing. That is a luxury he did not have while riding for the San Manuel team.
One thing is certain – 2012 is going to be an exciting season of racing!
Brian M King from MX Mayhem radio