NASCAR: Ryan Newman, Either Team Improves Or I Leave

Toby ChristieSenior Analyst IJune 18, 2008

In a year where Ryan Newman started off on the highest of highs, by winning the Daytona 500, he may now be extremely close to leaving Penske Racing South by the end of the season.  Newman is scheduled to revisit his most recent contract offer from Roger Penske soon.  Newman has stated that he will not be behind the wheel of the number 12 car next season unless the team shows improvement immediately.

Newman currently sits 17th in the Sprint Cup standings with four finishes of 30th or worse, two of which were expired engines.

"It's a performance issue," Ryan Newman stated at a pre-Coke Zero 400 media event. "There's no excuse. The other guys aren't doing it. We shouldn't either.  We strive to be the best at everything, and we're failing at that."

Newman finished 42nd at Michigan due to a drivetrain failure.  Newman was asked if the Michigan race would factor into his decision.

“Heck yeah," Newman stated, "Without a doubt. My goal is to be the best driver I can be and get the best results, wherever that is, whether it’s Penske Racing or any other place. I have to be fair to myself and my long-term goals and everything else, and Roger knows that. We’ve talked about that. It’s no secret. Sunday was obviously a step in a bad direction when it came to that".

No word on what team Newman will jump to if and when he moves, but with Joe Gibbs Racing possibly losing Tony Stewart and starting a fourth team, and Richard Childress Racing starting a fourth team next season one would have to assume those two teams are two major possibilities.

I will follow this story closely and bring any developments I find, but as of right now Ryan Newman appears to actually be on his way out of Penske, something that has only been rumored for the past few seasons.