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“It’s going to be fun year next year,” Larson said. “I’m going to learn a ton.”

Newman expects Larson to do just fine in the top series.

Kyle has definitely proven across the board he can drive absolutely anything, anywhere, anytime,” Newman said. “There’s a few drivers out there that can do that. When I say a few, there’s 20 or 30 that are that good.”

The biggest challenge, according to Newman, will be dealing with the outside expectations _ especially from those who question whether Larson is being pushed too far, too soon.

“The potential pressure, if you let it get to you, is more of a challenge than sitting in the seat behind the wheel and doing your job as a driver,” Newman said.

As for his own job, Newman could land at Richard Childress Racing if a sponsorship deal comes through, or perhaps take over the No. 31 car from Jeff Burton _ which would leave another long-time driver scrambling for a ride.

Montoya might wind up with the Furniture Row team, where Busch revitalized his faltering career with a surprisingly strong season. IndyCar owner Michael Andretti also is trying to put together a deal that would bring Montoya back to his roots in open-wheel racing.

Until the deals are completed, there’s still time to do some lobbying.

“If you look at my history in the sport the last 10 years, I’ve got a good resume on and off the racetrack,” Newman said. “I think there are car sponsors and owners that appreciate that.”


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