Ryan Newman will drive the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting in 2014, the team announced in a press release Monday morning. Newman, 35, is a 17-time NSCS race winner with 50 pole awards to his credit. The 2008 Daytona 500 and 2013 Brickyard 400 champion currently drives for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “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.
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31, announced recently that he would not be returning to RCR in 2014. Luke Lambert will stay on as crew chief for the No. 31 and RCR plans to keep the current team together.
“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 was told in August that he would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing next year. Co-owner/driver Tony Stewart said at the time that the team would not be expanding to four teams. The team’s plans changed and they recently announced the addition of Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick had already been hired to join Stewart and Danica Patrick at SHR.
Newman was in contention to win the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and secure a spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.
After a slow pit stop following a late-race caution cost Newman the win, Martin Truex Jr. grabbed the last spot in the Chase field.