UPDATED: Ryan Newman named as new driver of Childress’ No. 31

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It turns out Ryan Newman could afford to be candid about his pit crew at Stewart-Haas Racing after missing the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond because he had something new close to being done.

Newman has been named as Jeff Burton’s replacement at Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 Chevrolet, multiple sources confirmed to NASCAR.com. Newman participated in a teleconference later on Monday and discussed the move.

“We talked roughly five years ago before I joined SHR and we didn’t have the moons correctly aligned,” Newman said.

He said he had talked to several teams before settling on RCR for what will be a three-year deal.

“I talked to a few, which in my world is three or more,” Newman said. “Richard came to me Daytona 500 week and I told him at that point I needed to lay some ground work with Matt Borland (at SHR), it was too early then, but I appreciated the offer. After Loudon, when I was told what I wouldn’t be doing, the conversations intensified. So it was at the top without a doubt. Richard and everyone at RCR could control their own destiny in terms of building chassis, engines and bodies at one compound. That means the world to me.”

It will mark a third change of scenery for Newman, who debuted in NASCAR with Penske Racing in 2000 and shifted to Stewart-Haas in 2009. He has 17 career wins, including a season-high eight in 2003, the last year before the Chase, and his most recent win at Indianapolis this July. He also has scored Penske’s only Daytona 500 win, ahead of then-teammate Kurt Busch in 2008.

“I’ve talked with (new teammate) Paul (Menard) a good bit, going back to Coke 600. Austin and Ty (Dillon) are there, I don’t know their capacity yet,” he said of his new team situation. “Just even racing with Austin at the Truck race, we raced clean and raced hard. Tony (Stewart) and I have raced clean and hard. I also want to make mention to that I’m extremely respectful for the way Jeff Burton’s handled himself. To make this all work out and he’s been great, I will leave it at that.”

Newman made the Chase twice in five seasons with SHR, missing out this year after a controversial late-race spin by Clint Bowyer and a subsequent loss of positions on the ensuing pit stops.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.