Ryan Newman will not be back at Richard Childress Racing in 2019, ending a five-year run with the organization.
“I want to take a moment to let everyone know that I will not return to Richard Childress Racing in 2019,” Newman wrote on social media. “I have very much enjoyed driving the No. 31 car and I want to personally thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR for the support over the past five seasons.
“I’m not ready to announce my future plans at this time, but it is my full intention to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2019 and beyond. We are currently working through the options for next season and hopefully we will be able to announce those plans in the very near future.”
Team owner Richard Childress told NASCAR.com that the team was not ready to reveal next year’s plans for the No. 31.
“We knew we were going to change,” Childress said. “It’s just when we were going to announce it.”
Newman did not advance to this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, marking the second time in the past five seasons in which he didn’t make the postseason. In his first year with the team (2014), the No. 31 was a dark horse that reached the Championship 4 in Miami, almost winning the championship before finishing second to Kevin Harvick in the race and in the standings.
Newman won just one race with RCR, coming last year at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. Among his 18 Cup wins are the 2008 Daytona 500 with Team Penske and 2013 Brickyard 400 with Stewart-Haas Racing.
He has seven top-10 finishes in 26 races this year and sits 17th in the standings, 58 points behind Alex Bowman, the final driver in the playoffs.
One of the possibilities for RCR could be Daniel Hemric, who has been in the Richard Childress Racing camp for two seasons now in the Xfinity Series, making the Championship 4 last season. In addition to RCR’s two Cup Series cars, they will have a third charter to decide on for next season, when the one they leased to StarCom Racing returns.
Hemric previously described his 2019 plans as “very cloudy.”
“I don’t know where it’s going to end up or how it’s going to all play out,” he said in August. “But I know Richard’s doing all he can to make sure hopefully there’s a spot for me, and if there’s not, I’ll feel out any option out there because as of right now, I don’t have my name signed on any line for the following year. I’m trying to do everything I can on the racetrack to prove to somebody who may be willing to put me in a car and give me a shot — and hopefully, when that shot comes, I can take advantage of it.”
–Additional reporting by Kelly Crandall