Ryan Newman will drive the No. 31 Chevy for Richard Childress
Racing in 2014.
Newman, who agreed to a three-year deal, has 17 career NASCAR
Sprint Cup wins, including victories in the Daytona 500 and most
recently the Brickyard 400 in July. With 50 poles, Newman ranks
third among current drivers behind Jeff Gordon (73) and Mark Martin
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” Richard Childress
said in a release Monday. “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.
“Luke Lambert will be his crew chief, and the team is staying
together next year. That team is building momentum to not only
finish out this year strong, but to get even better in 2014.”
The 35-year-old South Bend native made his NASCAR Cup debut at
the end of the 2000 season for Penske Racing while finishing his
engineering degree at Purdue University.
“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.”
Jeff Burton is the current driver of the 31. His departure from
RCR was announced last week.
Newman did not run the full Cup season until 2002, when he beat
out Jimmie Johnson for rookie of the year. That season, Newman won
at New Hampshire from the pole and finished a career-high sixth in
the point standings despite four mechanical failures.
“We are excited to have Ryan Newman driving the No. 31
Caterpillar Chevrolet SS in 2014,” said Greg Towles, NASCAR Program
Director for Caterpillar. “Ryan’s racing accomplishments are well
known and, when coupled with his knowledge of machinery and passion
for the outdoors, he aligns well with Caterpillar customers,
dealers and employees.”
During his five-year run with crew chief Matt Borland in the No.
12, Newman won 12 races and finished in the top 10 in the point
standings four times. After Borland left Penske at the end 2006, so
did the magic. Newman won just one race in his last two seasons at
Penske before moving to Stewart-Haas in 2009.
Newman has had mixed results at SHR. He’s qualified for
the Chase twice and won one race each of the last four years.
However, his reunion with Borland this season has provided Newman
with the consistency the driver has been missing. Together, the two
engineers hit on the new Generation 6 car early. Newman has posted
12 top-10 finishes this season and six top fives including his
Brickyard 400 win. He is currently 14th in the standings.