Ryan Newman has been confirmed as the new driver of the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for 2014, after last week's news that Jeff Burton is to leave the team a year early at the end of the current season.

Newman was recently let go by Stewart-Haas Racing, ironically in order to make way for the arrival of Kevin Harvick, another driver leaving the RCR stable at the end of 2013.

the winner of this year's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Newman was in with a chance of making this year's Chase play-offs for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship but narrowly lost out at the end of last weekend's race at Richmond International Raceway.

From Burton's tenure in the car, Newman will inherit crew chief Luke Lambert and other personnel, along with title sponsorship backing from machinery and engines manufacturer Caterpillar. Announcements on sponsors in addition to Caterpillar will be made at a later date.

"This is a great opportunity for our team," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "I am very proud to have Ryan in our #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet starting next year.

"We have high expectations for this #31 team," he added. "Ryan has proven himself to be a great driver and I'm looking forward to winning races with him."

Newman was delighted to have his immediate future once more confirmed, after weeks of uncertainty having been told he had lost his seat in the #39 SHR car on account of the team not being ready to expand to a four-car line-up in 2014 - only to see them an announce plans to do just that after hiring Kurt Busch.

"I'm very pleased Richard and I were able to put this deal together for me to drive RCR's #31," Newman said. "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," he continued. "RCR has a long history of winning races and championships, and I want to add to that tradition."

But before the #31 gets its new occupant at the wheel, there are the remaining ten races of the current season to contend with first.

"[I'm] going to finish this season strong with the #39 team and give it our all to win races," said Newman. "Then, I'll concentrate on working with Luke Lambert and the other members of RCR as we get ready for 2014.

"One important thing I sincerely want everyone to know is how much I respect and admire Jeff Burton as a person and driver," Newman added. "He handled his recent announcement and situation with respect, class and dignity."

Burton announced that he was leaving the team a year earlier than planned after discussions with Childress. Bowyer cited 'financial realities' for the decision to part company with the team for which he'd drive since 2005.

The 46-year-old said that he had been planning on stepping down to part-time racing in 2015 after his existing RCR contract had expired, or looking at other opportunities altogether such as media work.

Burton said that he had not spoken to any other teams before making his announcement last week and that he has no fixed plans for what he would now turn his hand to in 2014.