LONG POND, Pa. -- Ryan Newman says he is 100 percent focused on staying at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013, not returning to Penske Racing.
The No. 22 at Penske Racing became available for next season on Tuesday when the team released suspended driver AJ Allmendinger.
Newman, who drove for Penske Racing from 2002 until 2008, said he has not contacted his former team about a possible return if sponsorship can't be found for him at SHR.
SHR owner Tony Stewart has said he wants Newman back as long as sponsorship can be found. That took a major hit recently when U.S. Army, which sponsored 12 races for the No. 39, announced it would not return.
"There's potential for absolutely anything,'' Newman said after Saturday's qualifying at Pocono Raceway. "My goal is to stay at Stewart-Haas and continue what we're doing. We're working on that.''
Asked to define the odds of his staying at SHR, Newman added, "Right now, 100 percent, I hope.''
Sam Hornish Jr. has the early edge to drive the No. 22 next season. He has driven the car since Allmendinger tested positive for amphetamines more than a month ago and is slated to be in the car for the foreseeable future.
"Roger has a tough situation to figure out right now,'' Newman said of former team owner Roger Penske. "We all see that. I'm happy doing what I'm doing. I just want to make sure we get the paperwork done and move forward.''
But Newman said he didn't burn any bridges that would prevent him from returning to Penske if things didn't work out at SHR.
"Absolutely not,'' he said. "I made it a point not to.''
But again, he reiterated, the focus is staying put.
"We're just trying to work on everything,'' Newman said. "We're trying to work on sponsorship, we're trying to work on the funding part of it as well as tying all the races together so it flows. If it doesn't flow good then it's not good for me or anybody else at the shop.''
All I know is words like Right now, & I hope means to me means it isnt 100%.
Also found it interesting he pointed out he hasnt burnt any bridges at Penske, like some of us were thinking.