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Newman happy to extend stay at Stewart/Haas

7 September 2012

Stewart/Haas Racing has confirmed that Ryan Newman has signed a one-year extension with the team for 2013.

"Proud to let everyone know that I will be back with Stewart/Haas Racing and the #39 team in 2013," Newman announced on Twitter on Thursday morning.

Despite the news, the #39 car still has a huge funding problem after the decision of its major sponsor the US Army to end its backing at the end of the current season, even though Newman said that he was optimistic that the issue would be resolved over the coming weeks.

"I feel fairly confident that we'll have good branding on the car," said Newman, although he admitted that he didn't know who that would be yet. "But I can tell you this for sure, it's going to be multiple sponsorships. I think the days of having one banner sponsor for an entire season are pretty much over."

Newman said that he'd always intended to stay with the team and never seriously pursued openings elsewhere.

"I had conversations with other teams," he admitted. "But I never pursued it, never put anything on paper. It was kind of more, I guess, like fishing in a pond. Every once in a while you cast in a different direction just to see if you get a bite."

Newman said that there were still deals and opportunities available, but he'd had too much loyalty to his current team to actively pursue them.

"I have more respect for the people who have given me an opportunity than that," he said. "It just wasn't my goal to go out there and knock every door down ... That's not what my personal goal was."

He did admit that he'd had to take a pay cut to retain his seat with the team, however: "I think in general everybody out there right now has taken a pay cut," Newman agreed. "No different than the cost of a seat in the grandstands is down. It all correlates."

The news about Newman's new deal with Stewart/Haas doesn't mean that as yet, team co-owner Tony Stewart had any new sponsorship deals to announce.

"You have to start first with something," explained Stewart of his decision to push ahead with Newman's contract extension despite the uncertainty. "It's kind of what is first, the chicken or the egg. It's hard to get sponsors if you don't have a driver. And, it's hard to have a driver if you don't have sponsors. So, we had to start somewhere."

Stewart admitted that the loss of Office Depot, the main backer of his own #14 car, had been a major blow to the team.

"It leaves us without a sponsor right now. It is a big void. It is unfortunate. It's part of life. It's part of a bad economy," said Stewart of decision, announced last weekend. "It was a hard decision for them to have to back away from it.

"I'm appreciative of everything Office Depot has done for us, they were the first company to come on board when we started this deal," added Stewart. I understand as a business owner what they are faced with. You can't blame them. I understand 100 per cent why they had to do what they had to do."

Stewart concedes that with Office Depot and the US Army no longer supporting the team, committing to re-signing Newman is something of a financial risk.

“It is, but, it is something that is important to me," he said. "It was important obviously to Ryan. It was important to people on our team to get him re-signed. I'm just glad we got it done right now."


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