(WOMR file photo)
Richard Childress Racing announced Monday that Ryan Newman will replace Jeff Burton as the driver of the #31 Sprint Cup Chevrolet next season.
Newman became available two months ago when Stewart-Haas Racing announced the contract of the 17-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner wouldn’t be renewed.
RCR and Burton announced earlier this month that they would part company after the current season.
The 35-year-old driver had been mentioned in connection with several other team openings but Newman said Monday that the Childress opportunity made the most sense.
“Richard and everybody at RCR are in a position to control their own destiny,” said Newman, a 50-time series Coors Light Pole winner. “They build their own cars. They build their own engines. They hang their own bodies.
“Everything is at the RCR compound and that means a lot to me because that keeps that information right there and that, I think is extremely important with the technology of the sport right now.”
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” said Childress in a team release. Childress was traveling and unable to join Newman and RCR’s Chief Operating Officer Torrey Galida in Monday’s announcement teleconference. “We have high expectations for this #31 team. Ryan has proven himself to be a great driver and I’m looking forward to winning races with him.”
Galida said the team’s current sponsor, Caterpillar, will continue to back a majority of next season’s races.
Newman said he and Childress spoke about the 2014 season during the weeks leading up to the Daytona 500 but neither was certain of what might transpire in the future – especially in the wake of Kevin Harvick’s departure to Stewart-Haas or how many teams RCR might field in 2014.
“It was a no-brainer for me to go back and knock on his door,” said Newman.
As “the regular season” has concluded, and The Chase has started, there are still just a couple of questions about the 2014 season left to be answered.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!