Newman, Penske Racing to Part Ways in 2009
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It came as very little surprise to most fans when Roger Penske announced on Monday afternoon that Penske Racing and Ryan Newman were unable to come to terms in their ongoing contract negotiations, and that Newman would be leaving the team following the completion of the 2008 NASCAR season.
Newman currently sits 16th in points and has been slowly working his way down the points standings ever since winning the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February, which also marks the only victory for the no. 12 team since the end of 2005. Still, with 13 wins and 105 top-ten finishes over 243 starts since making his debut in November of 2005, Newman is heavily viewed as the most sought after free agent still available on the market for next year.
When asked about his future plans, Newman stated that he basically has three options available to him, one of course being the open ride at the newly formed Stewart Haas Racing with fellow “Hoosier”, Tony Stewart. The other two rides that Newman is suspected to be considering are the no. 33 car at Richard Childress Racing and Stewart’s current car, the no. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I appreciate Penkse Racing and all that they have done for me,” Newman stated in a press release. “But, more importantly, I appreciate their friendship and what they have done for my career.”
Officials at Penske Racing did not say who they were looking at to drive for the no. 12 team next season, but did say that they would make that announcement in the very near future. Many people believe that the ride will go to their current test driver, David Stremme, or to Casey Mears, who was recently released by Hendrick Motorsports in favor of Mark Martin for the 2009 season.