DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2008) – The 50th running of the Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman has secured his ride for 2009.
On Friday at Michigan International Speedway, Tony Stewart announced Newman as the driver of the second team for Stewart-Haas Racing. Newman will begin driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in the No. 39 Chevrolet when he defends his Daytona 500 title in the season-opening 51st annual “Great American Race” on Sunday, Feb. 15.
VIDEO: Newman Fan Reaction
Newman, who has spent his entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Penske Racing, will become the first Daytona 500 champion since 1981 to drive for a different team after winning the Daytona 500 the previous year.
In 1980, Buddy Baker won the fastest Daytona 500 in history with owner Harry Ranier and returned the following year to defend his victory with owner Hoss Ellington’s No. 1 Oldsmobile. He finished fourth.
“It’s great to see Tony Stewart and 50th running of the Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman joining forces beginning with the 2009 Daytona 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “Tony Stewart’s recent announcements about his ownership plans have increased the anticipation for the green flag to wave on the Daytona 500.”
Stewart, a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, has been putting the pieces of the puzzle together for Stewart-Haas Racing as he prepares for his first race as a team owner and driver in the 51st annual Daytona 500.
Stewart recently announced that he will leave Joe Gibbs Racing at season’s end to become a driver/co-owner of Stewart Haas Racing, a two-car team currently known as Haas CNC Racing. Since then, Stewart landed Old Spice and Office Depot as sponsors and selected his new number – the No. 14 – which was the same number used by his racing hero and 1972 Daytona 500 winner A.J. Foyt.
And now he has secured Newman, who will try to put his name alongside Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty and Sterling Marlin as the only drivers to win consecutive Daytona 500s.
Tickets for the 51st annual Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 events are available online at http://www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.