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Same number, new team likely for Newman

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (39) walks to his car prior to qualifying for the Good Sam Club 500 auto race at the Talladega Superspeedway Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Talladega, Ala. Photo by AP

It’s not official yet, but Danica Patrick will more than likely have veteran crew chief Tony Gibson calling the shots for her when she transitions to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013. Several media outlets began reporting the Patrick/Gibson pairing over the weekend.

Gibson currently works atop the pit box of SHR’s No. 39 Chevrolet team and driver Ryan Newman, a position he’s held since both he and Newman joined Stewart-Haas in 2009. Newman is slated to return to the seat of the No. 39 next year, but his familiar crew chief and crew are expected to move over to Patrick’s team. Newman is expected to get a new crew and crew chief.

“I’m just kind of looking at what’s best for her (Patrick), surrounding her with the best people we can that are upbeat and positive,” Stewart-Haas Racing Competition Director Greg Zipadelli said, according to a report from USA Today.

Zipadelli is also crew chief for Patrick in her part-time Sprint Cup Series efforts this season. Patrick is running a limited Cup schedule in 2012, driving a No. 10 Chevrolet fielded by Tommy Baldwin Racing but prepared by SHR. In addition to a partial Sprint Cup schedule this year, Patrick also competes full-time in the Nationwide Series, driving the No. 7 entry of Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned JR Motorsports.

According to Zipadelli, an official announcement will probably be made within the next couple of weeks. As for Newman, he claimed over the weekend that he didn’t know anything about losing his crew chief.

Zipadelli said that several candidates are being considered to be paired with Newman next year, but he wasn’t ready to name names.

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Tags: Danica Patrick NASCAR Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Racing

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