Newman officially joins Stewart-Haas Racing

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Tony Stewart, who will become an owner-driver next season, hired Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman as his teammate.

Stewart, a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, made the much-anticipated hiring official Friday at Michigan International Speedway, selecting his fellow Indiana native as the second driver for Stewart-Haas Racing.

"This is something that we've all been looking forward to since the day that we first spoke with Ryan and [wife] Krissie about coming over here and joining the team," Stewart said.

Stewart, who will leave longtime employer Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the season to begin a new phase of his career, said he expects this announcement to add to the steady flow of racing people to his operation.

"The addition of Ryan coming on board now, I think, is going to make that list even grow larger," Stewart said.

Newman will leave Penske Racing at the end of the season to drive the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart.

"It's just a great opportunity," Newman said. "I think a lot of Tony from a personnel standpoint as well as a driving standpoint, and I've seen his success from an ownership standpoint with the USAC cars and the World of Outlaws cars. I've seen him get the job done in other venues, and I look forward to the opportunity."

In July, Stewart announced he was leaving the Gibbs team after 10 successful seasons and two Cup titles to become part owner of what has been the midpack Haas CNC Racing. Stewart will use childhood hero A.J. Foyt's No. 14. That car will be sponsored by Office Depot and Old Spice.

Stewart said he had hoped to announce multiple sponsorships for Newman's car on Friday, but that the deals were not yet done.

The two drivers have a combined 45 victories and 53 poles in Cup. But most of Newman's success came in his first few years with Penske. And, despite starting the year by nipping Stewart for the win at Daytona, Newman's 2008 season has been disappointing.

"The thing that impressed me the most about Ryan was that he asked all the right questions," Stewart said. "We've still never spoke about a dollar in the contract. The questions he asked me about how are we going to win races, how are we going to win championships, how are we going to get the right people in place to do the right jobs."

"It was first and foremost about how he was going to run and how we were going to insure that we were going to get him quality cars, equipment, people to surround him to give him that opportunity."

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