Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Source: Newman has verbal agreement with Stewart-Haas
By David Newton
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ryan Newman has reached a verbal agreement to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing next season, a NASCAR source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
The deal could take up to a month to finalize and announce as negotiations continue for car sponsors.
Newman reached the agreement after Joe Gibbs Racing was unable to nail down sponsorship to start a fourth team. JGR president J.D. Gibbs confirmed on Sunday at Indianapolis that Newman no longer was a factor in the team's plans and that a fourth team was unlikely for 2009.
Joey Logano, the 18-year-old phenom, is expected to step into the No. 20 car vacated by two-time Sprint cup champion Tony Stewart so he could become
50 percent owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Stewart will drive the No. 14 and Newman the No. 4.
Newman, speaking through a Penske spokesperson, said he is still working on the 2009 plans and he has no timetable for finalizing anything at this point.
Stewart spokesman Mike Arning said talks continue with several drivers.
"Any verbal agreement with a particular driver is premature," Arning said.
Newman also has been pursued by Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Petty Enterprises since announcing he would not return to Penske Racing next season, sources said.
Penske has a list of five potential drivers, including test team driver David Stremme, to replace Newman. The organization has had discussions with Martin Truex Jr., who multiple sources have said plans to return to Dale Earnhardt Inc. with a two-year deal once final details are worked out.
Newman will give Stewart-Haas a pair of Indiana-born drivers with a combined 45 victories and 53 poles.
Newman started the season with a victory in the Daytona 500, but the performance of his team since declined to the point he sought other options that could provide him a chance to win a championship.
At Stewart-Haas, Newman would be reunited with Matt Borland. Borland, now the competition director at Stewart-Haas, was Newman's crew chief at Penske for 12 of his 13 Cup victories.
Attempts to reach Newman and Stewart were unsuccessful.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com.