The grass will be greener for Newman in 2014

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Ryan Newman is out of a job at seasons end, whats next for the Rocketman?

With the news that Kevin Harvick would be leaving Richard Childress Racing for Stewart/Haas Racing in 2014 to pilot the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet and money being tight with Stewart only being able to field two other cars (Harvick and the money maker Danica Patrick), meant that Ryan Newman would be out of the 39 car after underperforming since joining the team back in 2010.

After a breakout season for Penske Racing back in 2003 (winning 8 races), the sky appeared to be the limit for Newman and he would be a championship contender for years to come. However, Newman would eventually face the pressure every underperforming athlete faces and without having a multiple win season since 2004, Newman’s time at Penske was coming to an end. He announced in early 2009 that he would be leaving for Tony Stewart and Gene Haas’ new startup team, Stewart/Haas Racing.

Trouble for Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Trouble for Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Getty Images

Even though Newman had a fresh start, he could only win three races and made the chase once. The same pressure Newman faced with Penske, began to mount last year at Stewart Haas and with Harvick’s contract coming to an end with Childress, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before he teamed up with his good friend Tony Stewart. Harvick will bring the dynamic that Newman has lacked for a long time and that is the ability to charge to the front and contend for wins and be a near lock for the chase every year.

Fortunately for Newman it might not be all that bad. There are a few teams that could land “The Rocketman” and get themselves a driver who might still have something left in the tank. Here are a few teams that could support a 2014 campaign for Newman:

Furniture Row Racing

I have said time and time again that this team is good and really devalued in the Sprint Cup ranks. They are doing wonders with Kurt Busch this year and I think the same can be done with Ryan Newman. If Kurt Busch leaves for a team like Richard Childress Racing, this will open up the #78 ride and I think a no pressure situation would be exactly what the Ryan Newman needs for a late career revival.

Richard Childress Racing

According to Bob Pockrass at Sportingnews.com, Richard Childress Racing is open to possibly adding a fourth team in 2014. With Paul Menard, Jeff Burton and Austin Dillon in the fold, that leaves one spot open for a potential free agent. I just mentioned above that I think Kurt Busch will be the likely candidate for a spot at Childress. There also is the possibility that Childress might not want to have to deal with Kurt Busch’s attitude and would rather have a driver like Newman who is cool as a cucumber. Either way, I’m putting Busch or Newman in a Childress car next year!

JTG Daugherty Racing

This is the least likely destination for Ryan Newman if he wants to be competitive. Every time I see Bobby Labonte in the 47 car, I ask myself how much he is getting paid to pilot this disaster of race team’s cars. This would have to be an absolute last resort if the above teams refuse to take on Newman. Hopefully for his sake, he finds work for a better quality race team but sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.

Bobby Labonte, Toyota
Bobby Labonte, Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Regardless of the underperformance, I truly believe Newman deserves one more shot at racing on the cup level. If a team can give him a 2-3 year contract and give him the equipment he needs, I think he can at the very least match his performance at Stewart Haas Racing. Sometimes a change of scenery is all a driver needs. Look at Matt Kenseth, he has four wins in just half of the races this year which is one race short to matching his career high in wins. Newman might not see the same boost in performance that Kenseth did, but he will be in a Cup car in 2014 and I would not be surprised if he contended for a few wins.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Blog
Tags championship, chase, chicagoland, childress, danica patrick, dillon, haas, harvick, jimmie johnson, nascar, penske, ryan newman, sprint cup, stewart, win