RICHMOND, Va. – Ryan Newman will drive the No. 6 car for Roush Fenway Racing next season, the team announced Saturday at Richmond Raceway. The team declined to reveal sponsors for the car.
Newman takes over the No. 6 car that Matt Kenseth and Trevor Bayne shared this season. Bayne told NBC Sports last week at Las Vegas that he’s looking for a ride in any of NASCAR’s three national series.
Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, said that Kenseth talked with the team and said he was not prepared to run full-time next season. The team plans to talk to Kenseth about a future role with the organization.
“He came and sat down with me and said, when he was looking at everything, talking to his family, considering at what stage he is in his life, meaning he’s got four young girls, he’s been on the road for almost 20 years, kind of sacrificing a lot of family time, that he just wasn’t prepared to run full-time,” Newmark said of Kenseth. “He said he owed it to his family.”
Roush Fenway Racing becomes the fourth organization to employ Newman. The 40-year-old drove for Team Penske from 2000-08, winning 13 races. Newman ran for Stewart-Haas Racing from 2009-13, winning four times. He has been at Richard Childress Racing since 2014, wining once (last year at Phoenix).
Newman made the playoffs three of his five years with RCR. He did not make it this year.
“Ryan Newman has been one of the most fierce drivers we’ve faced on the race tracks,” car owner Jack Roush said.
Said Newman: “I look forward to the opportunity of driving with the ultimate goal of winning. I’m in a position where I never wanted to stop, never wanted to quit, never wanted to retire and wanted to win a championship. I look forward to this opportunity, obviously finishing out this year strong as we both can in our respective positions, but at the same time with enthusiasm for the Daytona 500 and 2019.”
Newman enters tonight’s race at Richmond 17th in the points.
Roush Fenway Racing has yet to win this season after winning two races last year. The organization has two victories since 2015. Despite the struggles, Roush is confident in his team’s ability to be more competitive.
“We’ve been on a path of constant improvement,” Roush said. “We were improving and changing our cars in ways that had some benefit before Matt got involved, but Matt brought to us a sense of what was happening on all four corners of the car. He sat in the car initially and said it didn’t feel right, and he identified the issues he had with what was happening with the front of the car and the back of the car.
“There were questions that were on the list of things we were going to explore that we hadn’t prioritized that we prioritized at his suggestion. That’s manifested … in having extremely competitive cars at Bristol and Indy.”
That has Roush excited about the future.
“The wins are just around the corner,” he said. “The cars are much improved. I expect them to be more improved when Ryan has his criticism and constructive suggestions to what we can do as we get into next year.”