In August, Ryan Newman wasn’t sure where his future would lie in NASCAR after he was let go from Stewart-Haas Racing. Today, Richard Childress Racing has made an official announcement that Newman will pilot the No.31 Caterpillar Chevrolet in 2014.
Childress approached Newman during the Daytona 500 about his plans for 2014, reiterating his interest from previous years before Newman joined SHR. After some further discussion with Childress and the organization, Newman is looking forward to the move.
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” Richard Childress told NASCAR.com. “I am very proud to have Ryan in our No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet starting next year. We have high expectations for this No. 31 team. Ryan has proven himself to be a great driver and I’m looking forward to winning races with him. Luke Lambert will be his crew chief and the team is staying together next year. That team is building momentum to not only finish out this year strong, but to get even better in 2014.”
The No.31 seat was vacated last week when current driver Jeff Burton announced he would not be returning to the car next season, releasing him from his contract one year early.
“I’m very pleased Richard and I were able to put this deal together for me to drive RCR’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet,” Newman said. “About five years ago, Richard and I talked about me joining RCR before I signed with my current team, but things just didn’t work out. However, we were able to make it happen this time and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my career. RCR has a long history of winning races and championships, and I want to add to that tradition.”
Newman and Childress have signed a three-year deal and additional sponsorship beyond CAT is still being discussed.
No plans for Burton have been announced yet and his free status puts him with another free-status driver, Juan Pablo Montoya.
A full introduction of the announcement was made at 2pm EST Monday via teleconference.
During the teleconference, Newman was asked about his thoughts on Saturday’s race. Newman said that Saturday was “the toughest thing that’s ever happened to me in my 30 years of racing.” As far as Bowyer intentionally spinning in the closing laps?
“My ultimate answer is it’s pretty obvious, the decisions that were made and the communication that led up to that,” Newman said. “Based on my opinion inside the racecar and watching/listening/understanding comm that was there, it was not entirely an accident. I’m very disappointed to see and hear some of things that went down … Not an easy thing to work through, emotionally or physically afterward…It became more disappointing the more we dug into it. It didn’t just affect me. It affected Jeff Gordon, Logano, Truex …” Newman said.”
What does Newman think of MWR? “The potential is not good for us to be cordial to each other” but he will reserve his comments until NASCAR reviews the race and adds that “how NASCAR handles this is extremely important for all of us.”
With Newman’s plans finalized for the foreseeable future, the next 10 races this season will be a testament to his time at SHR. Does Newman deserve to be in the Chase? That is for you to decide but don’t think he is going to lay back the rest of the season. Newman plans to do everything possible to win the next 10 races.