Newman replaced Jeff Burton who is leaving the team at season’s end. Burton has been rumored to be heading to Swan Racing or Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Team owner Richard Childress said:
I am very proud to have Ryan in our No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet starting next year. We have high expectations for this No. 31 team. Ryan has proven himself to be a great driver and I’m looking forward to winning races with him. Luke Lambert will be his crew chief and the team is staying together next year. That team is building momentum to not only finish out this year strong, but to get even better in 2014. Ryan will be a great fit with CAT and RCR in many ways. He’s an outdoorsman, a conservationist and is very familiar with CAT equipment as an owner of some of their products.
I’m very pleased Richard and I were able to put this deal together for me to drive RCR’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet. About five years ago, Richard and I talked about me joining RCR before I signed with my current team, but things just didn’t work out. However, we were able to make it happen this time and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my career. RCR has a long history of winning races and championships, and I want to add to that tradition.
Newman became one of the top available free agents after it was announced that he would not return to Stewart Haas Racing.
Speculation started swirling that Newman was headed to RCR to replace the departing Kevin Harvick in the No. 29. But, it appears that the No. 31 would be a better fit as it had sponsorship while the No. 29 did not, as Budweiser announced that it was moving to SHR as well.
Newman has 17 Sprint Cup Series wins, 93 Top 5s, 178 Top 10s and 50 poles.