Nancy Knapp Schilke
Will Ryan Newman stay with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013 or jump ship? Just weeks ago, Newman appeared positive that he and boss Tony Stewart would agree to extend his contract, but now that 100 percent factor seems to have been sidelined.
Despite Newman’s comments on August 2nd, rumors kicked into high gear that he is considering a change. A bit odd when one considers his reply to questions about his contract: “I'm happy where I'm at with Stewart-Haas Racing. I want to keep doing what I'm doing. Tony Stewart and Gene Haas have given me a great opportunity. Right now, we are just working through all the details.”
My goal is to stay at Stewart-Haas.
There is a seat available at Penske Racing, and if Newman does bail out on Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), then he also would be leaving Chevrolet to drive a Ford.
Newman was Stewart’s first choice when he started his new team in 2009; he left the Penske Dodge team for SHR. 2008 started off great as Newman won the Daytona 500 but that was his only victory. Not only that, but the racer once known as the ‘pole man’ lost his status.
Stewart and Newman have not only been teammates, but they are also friends. It is possible that a new sponsor for Newman has not yet been secured or even come forth which could delay the contract.
Newman’s main sponsor U.S. Army earlier announced they were pulling out; yet staying in NHRA. Yet that does not seem feasible enough to have him leave SHR considering Stewart has been known to easily land sponsors, even in a rough economy or how the team is faring points wise. The defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion knows how to work the market for what he needs.
Just ten days ago, Newman reaffirmed his hope to remain with SHR as he stated, “My goal is to stay at Stewart-Haas and keep doing what we’re doing, and we’re working on that.”
Yet today, the rumor mill claims Newman is eyeing the Penske ride. If Newman is a serious contender for the Penske seat, then so is Joey Logano per the rumor mill. It appears that the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver is having a very bad season, and his contract is up at the end of this season. Top that fact off with the lack of a sponsor for 2013.
Since AJ Allmendinger was suspended from racing in any NASCAR owned series, Penske ended up moving Sam Hornish Jr. into the Cup car. While the former IRL (IndyCar) champion has been doing a good job, it is doubtful that he will earn the coveted seat. The Captain recently remarked on the phone calls he has received from top drivers looking for a ride with Penske next year.
In the meantime, it has come to light that Gibbs is looking to add Matt Kenseth to his stables, so in order to keep Logano, the team owner will have to field a fourth Toyota and find a sponsor.
Silly season is definitely in full swing before the top 12 for this year’s coveted Sprint Cup is determined.
However it would seem odd for Newman to bail out when he has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup twice already since joining Stewart’s team. There is a chance yet that he will make it into the Chase this year.