Driver Spotlight - Ryan Newman
Born on December 8 1977, Ryan “Rocket man“ Newman made his debut in 1993 in the United Midget Auto Racing Association and the All-American Midget Series, and at the end of his first season, he won both the championship and the Rookie of the Year award. Still an engineering student on Purdue University, he began working for Roger Penske in 2000, winning three races in ARCA RE/MAX series races. In 2001, he continued driving in ARCA and began driving in NASCAR, and in 2002, he won his first Winston Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
His 2003 season was marked by several crashes and flips, including one 27 car crash at the Aaron’s 499. Even though his driving throughout of the season was good and consistent, due to disqualifications he finished sixth overall. Seasons 2004 and 2005 were mildly successful, but in 2006 and 2007, he had two winless seasons, a hapless streak broken by his first win at 2008 Daytona 500.
At the end 2008, Newman left Penske, and in 2009, he joined Stewart-Haas Racing. During the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega, he survived a serious crash that occurred when he colided with Kevin Harvick. Fortunately and miraculously, he left his flipped car unharmed. In 2010, he broke the 78-race long winless streak, and in 2011, he finished 10th overall. With just one win and no poles, season 2012 also wasn’t a success, as well as season 2013 in which he scored just two poles and one win.
But, driving in 2014 for Richard Childress racing, Ryan Newman scored the best overall finish in his career. His tactical driving throughout the season earned him a wildcard spot in 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup. In the last race, he almost won, but finished right behind Kevin Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup by one point. On his runner-up position, he commented: “It’s like caramel corn, I guess. It’s a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. “I’m happy with what we achieved. I’m disappointed by how close we were but if we were one point, two points or 20 points it wouldn’t have mattered. You want to finish first. But we have the ability and the opportunity to try again next year. ”
Off-track, Ryan Newman is also a car enthusiast, especially for ’50s Chryslers, and with his wife Krissie, he operates The Ryan Newman Foundation. He graduated Purdue in 2001 with the Bachelor of Science in engineering.