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.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

HISTORY IN SIGHTLewis Hamilton aims to tie Michael Schumacher’s record

The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.