tampabay.com

Newman's contract extended

By BRANT JAMES
Published August 7, 2005


SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Ryan Newman was removed from the rumor mill with little fanfare.

With a year left on his Nextel Cup contract with Penske Racing South, Newman signed a three-year extension July 29 with three subsequent mutual options that could keep him with the team through 2012.

"You look at it as long-term if you want, you can look at it as a respectful, loyal commitment, a marriage of sorts," Newman, 27, said. "I'm happy to be a part of Penske racing, always have been."

In a year in which Jamie McMurray signed with Roush Racing for 2007, teams have been looking longer term for driver availability. Roush also contacted Newman. No other teams spoke with him, he said, including Dale Earnhardt Inc. which, according to director of motorsports Richie Gilmore, is close to signing a driver to replace Michael Waltrip in the No. 15 Chevrolet for 2006.

"I never had any temptation (to leave)," Newman said. "I had teams looking at me for the first time in my career and that was unique for me, but in general I had never had any intentions of leaving Penske, so I told them that. I was real open about all my situations."

Don Miller said Newman didn't exploit other teams' interest. "He never came back with us and used that as a bargaining chip. He has so much class," the Penske Racing South president said.

Newman, in his fourth full Nextel Cup season, all with Penske, has 11 wins and 32 poles in 137 races.

Gilmore said he is close to signing Tony Eury Jr., an employee of 15 years who is currently crew chief for the No. 15. "The Eurys have never had contracts; they've always just been there," Gilmore said. "It's always been an agreement and a year-to-year deal and Tony Jr. has told me he's not going anywhere. We're working on a deal and it would be his first contract ever."

Evernham Motorsports announced on Saturday that 2004 Nextel Cup rookie of the year Kasey Kahne signed a multiyear deal, less than a week after a lawsuit against him by Ford was dismissed. Kahne used a clause in a development contract with Ford to leave for Ray Evernham's Dodge team before last season.

QUALIFYING: Elliott Sadler, who has fallen from third to ninth in points in the past four races, won the pole for today's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with a 184.116-mph lap around the 2.5-mile speedway. Jeremy Mayfield (183.053) was second, followed by Waltrip (182.975). Points leader Jimmie Johnson will start 42nd after his team failed to make a qualifying run in the No. 48 Chevrolet in the alloted five minutes. His car was found to have an improper chain that holds the axle housing to the chassis. Rusty Wallace, fourth in points, crashed into the wall on his first qualifying lap and will start 41st.