Speculation about the future of driver Ryan Newman in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series ended Monday evening. Newman and Richard Childress Racing announced a multi-year agreement that will keep Newman as the driver of the No. 31 Chevy for the foreseeable future.
The 38-year old Newman has been racing in the top tier NASCAR Cup series since 2000, and fulltime since 2002. The last four seasons have been spent with RCR. The South Bend Indiana native started his career with Penske Racing, and then moved to Stewart-Haas Racing. In 542 starts, Newman has 17 wins, 105 top fives and 224 top 10 finishes. He finished a career best second in the season championship in 2014.
“Ryan’s consistency on the track has been a benefit to our organization and this extension solidifies the future of our racing program,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. “Ryan proved the first year he was here that we could contend for championships and with this continuation, I believe we can fulfill our commitment to winning races and a championship. Ryan has worked hard to represent many of our partners, especially the primary sponsors Caterpillar, Grainger and WIX Filters, helping them to get the most out of their respective racing programs.”
During his time at RCR, Newman and crew chief Luke Lambert have made two Chase appearances, 2014 and 2015. Newman barely missed the cut this season.
“I am pleased to continue driving for Richard Childress Racing,” said Newman. “Our goal to win a championship all but turned into a reality during our first year together. I feel like since then, we have some unfinished business to complete. I’m fortunate to have forged a great relationship with my crew chief Luke Lambert, and I very much want to not only help him reach our goal of winning a Cup championship but also getting him his first Cup victory.”
While there has been some speculation that Newman could be out of a ride next season as team owner Richard Childress said earlier this season that he wanted to move his grandson, Ty Dillon into a full time Cup ride in 2017.
In July Childress said, “Right now, it’s just a lot of things are hanging. We’re trying to put together what’s going to be the best for everybody, not just for RCR, but for the drivers and the sponsors; we’re trying to put together good programs.”
Later that same month however, Newman didn’t seem too worried about being forced out at RCR.
“I plan on (coming back),” he said. “If they’ll have me back, I’ll be there.”