Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Going the Distance … with Ryan Newman
Each week, Popular Speed will ask a different NASCAR personality a handful of questions about their career, lifestyle or off-beat personality traits. Next up: The veteran of the new-look Richard Childress Racing team and driver of the No. 31 CAT Chevrolet.
Popular Speed: Do you still feel the novelty or aura of getting to a track each week?
Ryan Newman: Yes … but admittedly it’s not as cool as it was originally. It’s still a lot of fun but if you’re going to have success at this level you have to approach it differently than you did when you first started.
PS: What first attracted you to motorsports?
RN: It was my dad really. He put me in a Quarter Midget when I was four and let me test the waters. He was really good about making sure that it was something I wanted to do and not just for him. But I learned pretty quickly that this is what I wanted. We started having some success and racing has been my life ever since.
PS: Would you rather be a driver 20 years ago or 20 years from now?
RN: 20 years ago — it was just a simpler era. The cars were simpler and the racing was pure. I really enjoyed that era.
PS: Have you ever raced with a serious injury?
RN: Nah — nothing in particular to be totally honest with you.
PS: Could NASCAR benefit from a tire war or do we need to learn our lessons from the early 90s?
RN: I don’t — it would be disastrous and would set the sport back 50 years. Look at what happened at Bristol (this interview was conducted before the Auto Club 400). They gave way too much and it was dangerous.
PS: Do you have any tracks remaining on your bucket list?
RN: There’s not any that comes to mind right now although I would love if we could go back to Rockingham in the Sprint Cup Series.
PS: What is your favorite all-time paint scheme?
RN: STP and Richard Petty.
PS: What is one make-or-break moment that defined your career?
RN: I would say trying to get my career off the ground with Penske Racing was the biggest make-or-break moment. That’s the big one. Everything rode on what I did or didn’t do in that car. The big thing to me … is any relationship that I’ve had in the sport.
That’s what makes NASCAR fun and has dictated my success.