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Mum on 2014 plans, Newman sets sights on making Chase

Sep 6, 2013, 8:40 PM EDT

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With all of the recent Silly Season movement involving the likes of Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, A.J. Allmendinger and Jeff Burton, it would appear that the spotlight is now shining on Ryan Newman, who is leaving Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of 2013.

Newman has been tipped by some for a possible jump to Richard Childress Racing next year, and with Burton announcing his departure from RCR this week, that rumor will only intensify.

Of course, let’s not forget that Busch’s soon-to-be-old ride, the No. 78 at Furniture Row Racing, also needs a new driver for 2014.

But as he looks toward his final chance to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, Newman has kept quiet about his future plans. He mentioned Thursday that he had “spent some time this week working on next year” – but didn’t reveal much else.

“It’s not that I’m not allowed [to say anything],” Newman said. “It’s just not the right time.”

An understandable stance from Newman, considering that he’ll be battling for a Chase berth in tomorrow’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at RIR. The Brickyard 400 winner finds himself five points behind Martin Truex, Jr. for the final Wild Card spot.

“I think no matter what, trying to figure out anybody’s future is somewhat of a distraction when it compares to living in the present – trying to figure out and perform like we need to perform for the Chase,” Newman said.

With him and nine other drivers gunning for five remaining Chase spots tomorrow night, the atmosphere will definitely be tense.

Many scenarios can and likely will play out over the course of 400 laps, and for Newman – who can clinch a Wild Card with a win – it may all come down to putting the chrome horn to somebody in order to get that critical victory that vaults him into the playoffs.

But would he do such a thing? That depends.

“Everything is a situation,” he said Thursday. “If that guy roughs you up to get to where you are, maybe. If that person is the one that caused you mischief earlier in the season, maybe. If that person is somebody you extremely respect, know they wouldn’t do that to you, maybe not. It’s so situational.”

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