Newman confirmed for Tony Stewart team UPDATE Added photo and full story below.
08/15/08 Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Ryan Newman to a multi-year contract to drive the team’s No. 4 Chevrolet beginning with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
|Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 alltel Dodge, shares a laugh with fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and future boss Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, during Friday's announcement at Michigan International Speedway that Newman would be joining Stewart-Haas Racing|
|Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Newman, winner of 13 Sprint Cup races, including this year’s Daytona 500, will be a teammate to Tony Stewart, the two-time Sprint Cup champion who will drive the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet in 2009.
The announcement pairs two Indiana natives and two former United States Auto Club (USAC) champions under one roof.
Newman is from South Bend, Ind., and was the 1999 USAC Silver Crown Series national champion. Stewart is from Columbus, Ind., and a four-time USAC champion, as he won the 1994 USAC National Midget championship before securing the USAC “Triple Crown” in 1995, where he won the National Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown titles in a single season – the first driver to do so.
“We’re obviously very excited to have Ryan join our team,” said Stewart, who will serve as both driver and owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, with Stewart owning Newman’s No. 4 entry. “Long before Ryan came to NASCAR, I knew he was talented. His success in USAC has continued in stock cars, and to have someone of his caliber as my teammate makes both the driver part of me and the owner part of me very happy.”
Newman compiled quite the USAC record before embarking on his stock car career. The Purdue University alum who graduated in 2001 with a degree in vehicle structural engineering racked up 17 USAC wins before making the move to stock cars with Penske Racing in 2000.
The learning curve was short, as Newman won three out of five ARCA RE/MAX Series races that year to begin his fast track to the elite Sprint Cup Series, where in addition to his 13 wins, he has 43 poles.
“All I want to do is win, and Tony is a proven winner as both a driver and a team owner,” Newman said. “Tony is a racer who has seen all sides of this sport. He knows what it takes to win, and I know that he’s going to give me everything I need to be successful.
“We share the same goals, the same background and the same mindset. There’s a comfort level at Stewart-Haas Racing that’s very unique, and it’s why I’ve made it my new home.”
Newman and Stewart bring together a combined 57 USAC wins and 45 Sprint Cup wins. Both are former Raybestos Rookie of the Year winners in Sprint Cup, with Stewart claiming the honor in 1999 and Newman earning the title in 2002. Both drivers have also qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with Newman earning a berth in the Chase’s inaugural season in 2004 and again in 2005. Stewart joined Newman in the Chase in 2004, won the championship in 2005 and returned to the Chase in 2007.
Newman, who enjoys fishing and restoring vintage cars, resides in Statesville, N.C., with his wife, Krissie.