Dark days as Newman/Haas will not be on the grid in 2012. (LAT photo)
Late Thursday afternoon, Newman/Haas Racing confirmed it will not be participating in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series and will shut its doors at the end of December.
In a statement, NHR co-owner Carl Haas said the economy has forced the team out of the sport after nearly 30 years.
"The economic climate no longer enables Newman/Haas Racing to participate in open-wheel racing at this time," Haas said.
The team fielded Oriol Servia and James Hinchcliffe in 2011, with Servia finishing fourth in the final standings and Hinchcliffe winning IndyCar Rookie of the Year honors.
In its history dating to 1983, Newman/Haas Racing has been one of open-wheel racing's most successful and enduring franchises. The team won eight championships, starting with Mario Andretti in 1984 (ABOVE), 107 races and 109 pole positions. Andretti's son Michael brought the team further championship success in 1991, before Newman/Haas claimed international recognition when it lured F1 champion Nigel Mansell over to CART for the 1993 season. The Briton promptly became the first and only driver to secure back-to-back titles in the two series.
Sebastien Bourdais went on to won four straight Champ Car titles for NHR from 2004 to '07, and Justin Wilson recorded the team's last win at Detroit's Belle Isle in 2008. Graham Rahal scored three poles for the team in 2009.
Times have been hard for the team since team co-founder Paul Newman passed away in 2008, with smaller budgets and drivers needing to find funding to race for the team. It seemed in 2011 they were back in full, primed for a resurgence with Servia's several podiums and Hinchcliffe's emergence on the scene.