Ryan Newman to Leave Penske Racing

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Ryan Newman is leaving Penske Racing at the end of the current season. He's been projected as a possible teammate for Tony Stewart on the two-time NASCAR champion's new team.

Newman has been with the Penske team since making his Sprint Cup debut in 2000. He got a full-time Cup ride in 2002 and has notched 13 victories, including this year's Daytona 500.

The 30-year-old Newman is known as one of the best qualifiers in NASCAR history. He won 11 of his 43 career poles and eight races in
2003 and finished no worse than seventh in the season points from 2002 through 2005. But Newman went winless in both 2006 and 2007
and slipped out of the Chase for the championship, finishing 13th and 18th.

He has struggled since giving Penske his first Daytona win and is currently 16th in the standings.

The team said Newman's replacement will be announced "in the near future." Penske test driver David Stremme is considered a leading candidate for the job.

Stewart announced last week he will leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2008 to become driver and part-owner of the team currently known as Haas-CNC Racing. The name will be changed to Stewart-Haas.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)