Newman Won't Return to Stewart-Haas

Ryan Newman

Stewart-Haas Racing signed Newman to a one-year contract before this season. (Photo: Getty Images)

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LOUDON, N.H. - Ryan Newman says he’s unsure where he’ll be next year after Tony Stewart told him Wednesday that it won’t be with Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I can’t say that I’m happy with how everything unfolded,’’ Newman said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I know that there are business decisions.’’

Budweiser announced Friday morning that it would sponsor Kevin Harvick for 20 races at Stewart-Haas Racing next year. That led to Stewart saying a couple of hours later that Newman would not be back because the team is not ready to expand to four cars. Newman signed a one-year contract extension in September.

“The No. 1 thing when Ryan and I spoke, our friendships will not change,’’ Stewart said. “This was a business decision that was (co-owner) Gene (Haas’) as well as mine’s. It was a hard decision. For Ryan and I, we had to put the personal side apart and work through the business part. I’ll do everything I can to help Ryan in any way I can ... in his effort to find a team next year. I believe in him 100 percent. I truly wish we were able to facilitate four teams at this time. We’re just not able to do that.’’

Newman said he and Stewart talked for about 20 minutes Wednesday when Stewart told Newman that he won’t be retained. Newman said the decision won’t affect their friendship.

“We’ve only ever argued over how hard we race, and that’s the kind of friends Tony and I are,’’ Newman said. “We have a great friendship, and I look forward to keeping that.’’

Newman said he had “no idea’’ when asked if he had commitments from any sponsors to follow him to a new ride.

“I want to be some place that I’m wanted,’’ said Newman, who has been with Stewart-Haas Racing since 2009 and won three races. “I want to be wanted for my abilities and the desires we have as common goals to win the championship.

“There are organizations out there that are capable of winning championships and capable of racing into the Chase. It’s obvious there are seats moving around, becoming available or potentially becoming available.’’

For the uncertainty he faces, Newman admits that he didn’t have an idea of what he’d be doing at this time a year ago with his contract expiring.

Newman has made the Chase in two of his four previous with Stewart-Haas Racing. He is 16th in the points heading into Sunday’s race.

“We had a brand-new team when we started this season,’’ Newman said. “Matt Borland was an experienced crew chief. Our entire organization within the 39 side was brand new. A lot of guys had never even come to a Cup garage before. That’s been a learning process for us, and I think it slowed us down a little bit. We’re not out of this Chase. I’ve been really focused on this year more so than next year.’’

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

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