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RCR says Ryan Newman was released from contract last month

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consmers Energy 400 - Qualifying

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 10: Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Grainger Chevrolet, talks with a crew member during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consmers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 10, 2018 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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LAS VEGAS -- Richard Childress Racing released a statement Sunday addressing Ryan Newman’s departure from the No. 31 Chevrolet, saying the driver was “released from his contract last month.”

Newman tweeted after final practice Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that he was leaving RCR after the season and intended to continue racing in Cup next season and beyond.

Newman and crew chief Luke Lambert have been paired for the past five seasons, earning a victory and three playoff appearances. Though the RCR release addressed only the No. 31 driver, Lambert’s contract with the team is believed to be up, and he also could be headed elsewhere next season.

Here’s the release from the team:

No. 31 Team Update - Statement from Richard Childress Racing:

As announced yesterday, Ryan Newman will not return to RCR in 2019. He was released from his contract last month.

We want to thank Ryan for his talent and dedication over the past five years, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. The No. 31 Chevrolet has been an important part of RCR for many years. We have outstanding partners in Chevrolet, Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Grainger, Liberty National Life Insurance Co., Coca-Cola, Okuma and eBay Motors, and will continue to deliver value for them as we move forward.

We are looking forward to the next chapter for the No. 31 team and will announce our new driver in the near future.