|Newman at New Hampshire Motor Speedway - July 2016|
credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts & Scuffs
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet SS for Richard Childress Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, earned the nickname “Rocket Man” while at Penske Racing after earning 42 poles from 2002 to 2008. Get the updated info on this animal-lover and father of two in this week’s Fast Facts, originally published in Oct. 2012.
- Ryan Joseph Newman was born Dec. 8, 1977 in South Bend, IN. Newman began racing in 1982 as a 4-year-old behind the wheel of a quarter midget; at age 9, he already has a resume that included over 20 victories, the Kokomo (Indiana) track championship and the Eastern Grand National Quarter Midget Championship in the Junior Stock Division. Newman racked up numerous feature wins and titles, leading to his inductions into the Quarter Midget Hall of Fame in 1993 at just 15 years of age.
- Newman moved into a full-sized midget car in 1993, racing in the All-American Midget Series and later in the USAC National Midget Series. In 1995, Newman was named Rookie of the Year in Midget Series, then followed that up with the same honor in USAC’s Silver Crown Series in 1996. Newman earned his first major USAC win in the “Night Before the 500” race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis in 1997.
- In 1999, Newman raced in all three USAC national series – Midgets, Silver Crown and Sprints – and added more impressive statistics to his resume: the 1999 Silver Crown championship and the 1999 Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year, making him the only driver to win the ROTY title in all three series. While doing all this, Newman was studying vehicle structure engineering at Indiana’s Purdue University; Newman graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Aug. 2001.
- Newman caught the eye of famed championship motorsports team owner Roger Penske and signed on with his team in 2000. In 2000 and 2001, Newman ran what was then known as the “A-B-C” plan – various races in the ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR Busch (now Xfinity) and Cup Series. He racked up wins in both the ARCA and Busch Series, and won his first Cup Series pole at Charlotte in 2001.
- In 2002, his first full-time season in the Cup Series, Newman won the Rookie of the Year Award over Jimmie Johnson, collecting six poles, one win and 22 top 10 finishes. He continued to impress in 2003 when he won 11 poles and went to victory lane eight times. As a member of Penske Racing, Newman amassed 43 poles, 13 wins and finished sixth in points three times.
- In 2009, Newman moved to Stewart-Haas Racing with fellow USAC graduate Tony Stewart as his teammate and team owner. In five seasons with the team (2009 through 2013), he earned eight poles, four wins and 78 top 10 finishes. He moved to his current ride at RCR in 2014, finishing a career-best second in points in his initial season.
- Newman and his wife Krissie have two daughters, Brooklyn and Ashlyn. The Newmans founded Rescue Ranch in 2012, with its primary goal of ending pet overpopulation by promoting and providing care, protection and control of domestic animals. It also promotes respect for all animals and conservation, and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership.
- Find out more about Ryan Newman at his website, www.ryannewman.com, and find out more about Rescue Ranch at www.rescueranch.com.