RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Ryan Newman will drive full-time for Roush-Fenway Racing in the No. 6 Ford next season in NASCAR’s Cup series.
The team announced the move Saturday at Richmond Raceway, hours before the second race of the playoffs.
Newman has driven the No. 31 for Richard Childress Racing since 2014, but did not make the playoffs as one of the top 16 teams for the second time in three years. He announced earlier this year he would leave the team at the end of the season.
“I’m at a position where I’ve never wanted to stop, I’ve never wanted to quit, never wanted to retire, and I want to win a championship,” Newman said.
Newman has won 18 races in his career, including eight in the 2003 season. He finished second to Kevin Harvick in the 2014 championship race.
Newman praised owner Jack Roush’s history as a car owner, and said one of the ideas that attracted him to the organization was “it’s an opportunity for me to help them grow their program from where they have been and hopefully to where we all want to be, and I think that we have both an equal opportunity of doing that.”
Trevor Bayne drove the No. 6 from 2015-17, and split time this season with Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Cup series champion. Kenseth, who won his championship with owner Roush one year before Roush driver Kurt Busch gave him two in a row, retired after last season, but came back to help the struggling team.
Bayne has never finished better than 22nd in the standings for Roush, who also fields a team with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Roush said retired NASCAR driver Mark Martin encouraged him to bring Kenseth aboard to help with the setups of his race cars.
“Even though the results haven’t justified the effort, we’ve had more speed in our cars and we’ve got a direction that’s going to be clear that will make better race cars and better racing for our fans going forward,” Roush said, adding that he’s not certain what Kenseth’s role will be with the team going forward.
Roush and team president Steve Newmark declined to address whether the team has secured sponsorship for the car.
“Ryan Newman has been one of the most fierce drivers that we’ve faced on the race track,” Roush said. “One of the things that a driver has to have is a code that makes sense to other drivers. Whenever you raced Mark, you knew what to expect. Whenever you raced Matt, you knew what to expect, and whenever you raced Ryan, you could know what to expect as well. I look forward to that working in our favor.”
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