NASCAR Cup Series
Ryan Newman is the Newest Driver at Richard Childress Racing
By Summer Bedgood – Richard Childress Racing will have a new driver in the No. 31 Chevrolet next season. Ryan Newman will be the driver of the No. 31 car next season. Burton announced last week that he would be leaving the team at the end of the 2013 season.
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” said Richard Childress. “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.”
The announcement comes just a couple of days after the final race in NASCAR’s regular season and the cutoff point in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Ryan Newman was on his way to winning the race and making the Chase on Saturday night, when a spin from Michael Waltrip Racing driver Clint Bowyer brought out a caution that would ultimately be to Newman’s detriment. With a bevy of controversy surrounding the spin due to several suspicious radio communications between Bowyer and his team and the fact that the spin benefited Bowyer’s teammate Martin Truex Jr., Newman was on the short end of the stick and ended up missing the Chase because of it.
The disappointment was evident for Newman after the race, and it wasn’t the only time Newman has been on the losing end of some shady dealings. Earlier this year, Newman was said to be out of a ride at Stewart Haas Racing next season because the team didn’t have room for a fourth car. With Kevin Harvick moving to the team next year, Newman was the odd man out. However, several weeks later, while team owner Tony Stewart was in the hospital for a broken leg sustained in a sprint car race, Gene Haas took matters into his own hands and played a role in signing Kurt Busch into a fourth team that SHR doesn’t have for the 2014 season. Though Newman played off the announcement in public, Newman certainly was dealt a bad hand in silly season this year.
It appears now, though, that Newman has found a ride with RCR. Sponsor Caterpillar is expected to stay with the team, and Newman will most likely be teammates with Paul Menard and Richard Childress’ grandson Austin Dillon in 2014.
“I’m very pleased Richard and I were able to put this deal together for me to drive RCR’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet,” said Newman. “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 has a total of 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories, including the 2008 Daytona 500. He has finished as high as sixth in the points twice and has an average career finish of 17th.
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