Welcome, NC (Sports Network) - Ryan Newman has signed with Richard Childress Racing to drive the No. 31 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, starting in 2014, the team announced on Monday.
Newman will replace Jeff Burton in the No. 31 car. Burton has driven for RCR since the middle of the 2004 season. He announced last week that he is leaving the team at the end of this season.
Luke Lambert will be Newman's crew chief, and Caterpillar will continue its sponsorship of the No. 31 team. RCR expects more sponsors will be added for the team in the future.
"This is a great opportunity for our team," team owner Richard Childress said in a statement. "I am very proud to have Ryan in our No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, starting next year. We have high expectations for this No. 31 team. Ryan has proven himself to be a great driver, and I'm looking forward to winning races with him."
Newman, 35, is in his fifth and final season as driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. Two months ago, SHR revealed that he would not be back with the team next year.
"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," Newman said. "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."
Newman, a South Bend, Ind. native, won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. But his one victory this season was not good enough for him to make the 12-driver field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, which begins next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.
This past Saturday, Newman held the lead in the closing laps of the Chase cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway. But Clint Bowyer spun around to force a caution. Newman ended up finishing third after he gave up the top spot during a round of pit stops under the caution. He lost out on the final wild card in a points tiebreaker with Martin Truex Jr., who finished eighth. Carl Edwards won the race.
There has been speculation that Bowyer intentionally spun out to help Truex, his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, get into the Chase. NASCAR was investigating the incident on Monday.
Newman has scored 17 wins, 93 top-five finishes, 178 top-10s and 50 poles in 430 career Sprint Cup starts. He is currently 14th in the point standings.