If any racer knows the value of getting behind the wheel for an employer who is a former driver himself, it’s Ryan Newman.
Now in his 15th full-time season in NASCAR’s Premier Series, Newman has driven for owners Roger Penske, Tony Stewart and Richard Childress.
Those are Newman’s preferred types of owners. That’s why he was so pleased to announce on Tuesday’s edition of ‘Race Hub’ on FS1 that he has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain behind the wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
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“The common denominator is they’re all racers at heart,” Newman told FOX Sports. “You’ve got guys who have driven, have sponsored race cars, understand the business, understand the models, understand so much about what we need to make these cars go fast. And that’s what it takes.
“If you look at the strength of the people in our sport owner-wise who have been around, it’s the guys who have been racers and turned wrenches and know how to get it done.”
Newman has 17 career wins in NASCAR's Premier Series and 51 poles in 542 career starts. But his last win came at Indianapolis in July of 2013 while he was still driving for Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing. That was 118 races ago.
His best season with RCR was his first in 2014 after he came over from SHR (where he had been replaced by Kevin Harvick). Despite failing to win a race that season, Newman was consistent enough to make the Championship 4 and run for with three others for the Sprint Cup title in the winner-take-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He finished second in the race and the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship to Harvick.
“It’s been tough because we’ve been so close – especially in 2014 when we were racing for the championship,” Newman said. “To be one spot away on the last restart, we were that close. … We’re still close. All the employees at RCR are fighting really, really hard to get us in that position again.”
Although he did not make the Chase this year for the first time in four years, he’s coming off his second-best finish of the season – a fourth last Sunday in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was only his second top-five finish of the season, with his season’s best of third coming in July at Kentucky.
“It shows you how tough this sport is,” Newman said. “You’ve got your cliques in this sport. You’ve got your Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas that are dominating at times; you’ve got your Hendrick Motorsports, which seems to be bouncing back pretty good right now. It just seems like you have to fight just to get in the top 10 and be in contention for a win right now. The competition is way tighter and way closer than it’s ever been.”