Newman to drive No. 31 RCR entry

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

(56).

“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.