Ryan Newman, the winner of the 2008 Daytona 500, says he is confident that the new Stewart-Haas Racing team will be one to watch during the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
The new team, renamed from Haas CNC Racing after Tony Stewart acquired 50 per cent interest in the organisation, will field cars for Newman and Stewart during the season ahead, with Newman entering his first campaign away from the Penske outfit.
Heading into the new campaign, Newman said he would be looking to try and become the first man since Sterling Marlin to defend the Daytona 500 crown while his new team would look to impress enough during the year to ensure both cars make it to the Chase.
“I am confident coming out of the box that we'll be a contender at the Daytona 500,” he said. “I feel that there's going to be some things that we'll have to learn, but I think as a group, with our team, with the U.S. Army Chevrolet, that the people that we have with Tony Gibson and his group that came over from DEI and all the other people that were there from Haas racing that we'll be competitive. I feel with the Hendrick components, myself and Darian Grubb and Tony Gibson, that there's no reason that we're not.
“Secondly, goal wise our goal is for both cars to make it into the chase. Once we're in the Chase, we'll determine how much of a contender we are for the championship.”
Newman added that testing with new team has been limited thus far, but he wasn't concerned about the impact it would have going into the new campaign.
“We tested once at the big Rockingham track, and just a one day test, just to kind of get to meet and know each other on the radio as well as person to person, and this will be, I think, our last test before the season starts,” he said. “I don't think that there's a necessary need in testing to the point that we're going out there to make cars faster.
“I believe that as an organisation and as a team we can make the cars fast in the shop, be prepared to come off the truck and without testing be competitive.”