Ryan Newman has been widely identified as the most likely candidate to join Tony Stewart in driving for the Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2009, but Newman said Saturday there is no such deal in place – at least not yet.
“No, I haven’t agreed,” Newman said. “I told you point blank – I’ve never lied to you and I won’t lie to you. I haven’t agreed. I don’t know my answer.”
Newman did say that joining Stewart is something he is considering.
“Driving for Tony’s team is an option,” Newman said. “He’s got an open seat. Obviously you guys marked me as a lead candidate to get in there, so it is an option. I’ve had a lot of discussion with a lot of people.”
Newman said some of those discussions have included him getting part ownership of a team. Stewart got a 50 percent stake in the former Haas CNC Team.
Newman said his goals are simple.
“The most important thing to me is performance, winning a championship and achieving the goals outside of what I’ve done – a lot of poles, wins and winning the Daytona 500,” Newman said. “There are still a lot of things out there for me to achieve.
“I see potential to win a championship where I’m at. It’s just that potential hasn’t proven to be as high as other organizations. That’s just a statistical fact. I’m just doing what I have to do to put myself in the best position to move forward.
“It’s probably one of the hardest decisions that I’ll have to make as a driver and maybe as a person, who knows. It’s not an easy answer that comes to you.”