Ryan Newman has been named as the driver of the No. 31 car for Richard Childress Racing in 2014.
Newman has 17 wins in NASCAR’s top series including one at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.
The 35-year-old Newman had been driving the No. 39 car at Stewart Haas Racing since 2009 but was jettisoned to make room for Kevin Harvick. Later SHR expanded to four teams for 2014 by hiring former series champion Kurt Busch.
“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 #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet starting next year. We have high expectations for this #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. Ryan will be a great fit with CAT and RCR in many ways. He’s an outdoorsman, a conservationist and is very familiar with CAT equipment as an owner of some of their products.”
The addition of Newman means that RCR will run at-least three full-time cars at the Sprint Cup level in 2013. Newman will be teammates with Paul Menard and Austin Dillon who is making the step up to the Cup Series in 2014.
“I’m very pleased Richard and I were able to put this deal together for me to drive RCR’s #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. I am very excited to work with Caterpillar. They are a world-class company and I look forward to learning more about them. Since I’m already a customer of theirs, I can honestly say they make incredible equipment.”
Newman will replace Jeff Burton behind the Wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet after it was announced the veteran would not return for the 2014 season.
“One important thing I sincerely want everyone to know is how much I respect and admire Jeff Burton as a person and driver. He handled his recent announcement and situation with respect, class and dignity. We’re going to finish this season strong with the #39 team and give it our all to win races. Then, I’ll concentrate on working with Luke Lambert and the other members of RCR as we get ready for 2014.”
Announcements on sponsors in addition to Caterpillar will be made at a later date but is expected to include Quicken Loans.