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Ryan Newman will drive the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet at Richard Childress Racing next season. Newman, who is leaving the No. 39 car at Stewart Haas Racing at season’s end, will replace Jeff Burton, who announced his departure from RCR just last week.
“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 just barely missed the Chase in Saturday night’s cutoff race, due in large part to a controversial spin by Clint Bowyer. Bowyer is accused of spinning his car on purpose in order to give hist teammate Martin Truex Jr. a better opportunity to make the Chase next year.
Newman’s departure from SHR was filled with controversy as well. Newman was essentially the odd man out at SHR because team owner Tony Stewart claimed that the team did not have the resources to field four cars next year. With Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, and Stewart already driving for the team next year, Newman was forced to find a ride elsewhere. However, after Stewart was injured in a sprint car accident last month, co-owner Gene Haas penned a deal for Kurt Busch to leave Furniture Row Racing for SHR. Now, there will be four cars at the team in 2014, but Newman will not be one of them.
Newman has 17 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories, including the 2008 Daytona 500. He is currently 14th in the standings with one win and is expected to finish out the year with his current team.
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