LOUDON, N.H.–Conventional wisdom is that Ryan Newman has known for some time that he wouldn’t be a part of Stewart-Haas Racing’s 2014 plans.
The truth is that Newman didn’t get the official word from team owner Tony Stewart until Wednesday night.
“I got a phone call from Tony on Wednesday at about 20 minutes till 7,” Newman said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “We talked basically 20 minutes, and that was it. His phone call was about making the announcement and that I would not be a part of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. That was it.
“His stress was the importance of our friendship, and that to me will never change. We’ve only argued over how hard we race. That’s the kinds of friends Tony and I are… That was my first knowledge of what I won’t be doing.”
The driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet acknowledged that he’s been a free agent since signing his current one-year deal for 2013, and he’s begun to explore other opportunities. But Newman said that, to this point, he’s been far more focused on competing for a Chase spot this season than trying to find a deal for next year.
“I do not know what my future holds,” Newman said. “I have no idea right now. I didn’t have any idea at this time last year. That is something that I guess weighs on my shoulders, and I have a little homework to do. That’s part of racing and part of the situation I’m in.
“I can’t say that I’m happy with how everything unfolded… In the end, I’m happy with the three wins I’ve had so far with Stewart-Haas and the performance and the cars and everything else. There will be a change for me in 2014, and I don’t know what that change is.”
In 11 and a half seasons of full-time Cup racing, Newman has 16 victories and 49 poles, third most among active drivers in the latter category. He’s currently 16th in the series standings but only 17 points behind Stewart in 10th place.
The last of his three wins with Stewart-Haas came at Martinsville in April 2012.
“I’ve had a good run, and I look forward to finishing out this year,” Newman said.