Ryan Newman is looking forward to having some fun with his new team.
Newman, who was announced on Friday as the newest driver in the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing stable, said that he hasn't had a lot of fun lately at the track and can't wait to join forces with Tony Stewart next season.
"The bottom line is that I want to have fun," Newman said during a media conference at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. "I'm here to have fun and I know (Stewart) he wants to have fun doing this."
Newman had a sensational start to his Sprint Cup career with Penske Racing. He earned his first pole in just his third career race in 2001. He finished sixth in the standings and won the rookie of the year trophy the following season and followed up with sixth, seventh and sixth place finishes in the championship standings the next three seasons. He dropped to a career-low 18th place finish in the standings in 2006 and finished 13th last year.
Newman said that the past two seasons have been disappointing and was a factor in his decision to leave Penske at the end of the season.
"We had some success in 2002 and '03 and probably '04 but since then we haven't been as successful and some of the fun has been gone," said Newman, who returned to victory lane with his win in the Daytona 500 in February. "I'm looking forward to having some fun again."
Newman has driven for Penske Racing for his entire Sprint Cup career
"I was talking to Roger about the contract and it didn't really materialize," said Newman, who will pilot the number 4 Chevy next season. "Tony was announcing his plans and I was in limbo about my plans and we basically just came together."
Last month, Stewart announced that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing after a decade to become an owner/driver for Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart said that he is looking forward to sharing his garage with Newman next season.
"There is going to be a lot of work in what we're doing here," Stewart said. "But we've got a teammate and organization that realizes that the more you laugh and joke around with the guys the more relaxed they are."We have a lot of common interests and I think we're going to have a lot of fun racing together. We're going to have a lot of fun with this and that's something that is important to me."
The announcement solidifies Newman's plans for next year after announcing earlier this month that he would not be back with Penske Racing next season. Newman signed a multi-year contract with Stewart-Haas but the details were not announced.
"It's just a great opportunity," Newman said. "I think a lot of Tony from a personal standpoint as well as a driving standpoint. He's become a good friend. I just look forward to the experience."