Ryan Joseph Newman (born December 8, 1977) is an American stock car racing driver who competes in the NASCAR Cup Series driving the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet for Richard Childress. Newman graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a B.S. in vehicle structure engineering. In 2002, he was the Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
He enjoys fishing and working on vintage automobiles, particularly 1950s Chryslers. Newman's car was featured on the cover of the 2005 EA Sports computer game NASCAR SimRacing, and he was actively involved in its development.
Racing career[edit | edit source]
Early days[edit | edit source]
Newman made his racing debut in 1993 in the All-American Midget Series, winning both Rookie of the Year and the championship. His 100 feature wins and two titles have him in the Quarter Midget Hall of Fame. Moving to USAC in 1995, he was ROTY again in both the Midget Series and the Silver Crown in 1996. In 1999, he was the first driver to win in all three divisions while being the Silver Bullet Series champion.
Beginnings with Penske[edit | edit source]
Newman began working for legendary racing icon Roger Penske in 2000, winning 3 of the five ARCA RE/MAX Series races he entered, and making his Winston Cup debut at Phoenix International Raceway. In 2001, Newman continued in both ARCA and NASCAR, while attending Purdue. Around this time he would meet racing legend Buddy Baker, who would eventually become his mentor on superspeedways.
"Rocket Man"[edit | edit source]
In 2002, Newman won a season-high six poles, breaking the record set by Davey Allison, and won his first career Busch Series race. In September, he won his first career Winston Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after starting from the pole. Newman also became the second rookie since Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the The Winston. He beat out Jimmie Johnson for the Rookie of the Year award.
Newman's sophomore season began with a flip at the 2003 Daytona 500 after contact with Ken Schrader. He and his team recovered and reeled off eight wins and eleven poles, both series highs, but he also finished with seven DNF's, which left him sixth in points. His number of poles during the season led to him being nicknamed "Rocket Man."
In 2004, Newman would make the inaugural Chase for the Cup, finishing seventh in points with two wins. The next year, Ryan made the Chase again, beginning with his second New Hampshire victory. He returned to the Busch Series after a four-year absence, winning six out of the nine races he entered, including a series-record five straight. Newman endured his first winless season in 2006, finishing a career-worst 18th in points, while his longtime crew chief left for Michael Waltrip Racing.
His pole ratio between his rookie year and 2006 was one in every three races, tying him for 15th on the all-time poles list. In 2007, he again went winless, including a near win at Lowe's Motor Speedway before a blown tire ended his hopes.  The streak ended after he won the 2008 Daytona 500 on February 17, 2008. It was also the first Daytona 500 win for Penske.
Stewart-Haas Racing[edit | edit source]
Ryan Newman signed a deal in early 2008 to drive for the new formed Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009 for a multi-year deal.
In 2009 Newman went winless. However he nearly won a few races. At Talladega Newman nearly won, getting passed by Carl Edwards and rookie Brad Keselowski with 2 laps left. Newman then was crushed by Edwards' airborne car which was crashed by Brad Keselowski who won the race.
In 2010 Newman won at Phoenix. In 2011 Newman was slow but won at Loudon. In 2012 Newman won at Martinsville after Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson wrecked with 2 laps left. In 2013 Newman won the Brickyard 400 but was told in 2013 that he would be fired from the team.
RCR[edit | edit source]
In September 2013 Newman was hired by Richard Childress Racing to drive the #31 Quicken Loans chevy in 2014.
Charity[edit | edit source]
Newman and his wife, Krissie, operate the Ryan Newman Foundation, which primarily focuses on assuring that adequate care is provided for unwanted dogs and cats in shelters and pounds. He helped fund the construction of the Catawba County, North Carolina Humane Society shelter, in the county where he once lived.
[edit | edit source]
- Alltel Racing Website
- Official Fansite
- Kodak Motorsports Website
- NASCAR Driver Website
- Penske Racing
- NASCAR Stats from Racing Reference