I was cruising around one day with a local cop who mentioned there was an up and coming stock car driver named Ryan Newman. I thought with the last name of Newman. It had to be Paul Newman's son or relative. I had heard about Paul's involvement with the IRL program. So, it was a logical fit. Well, Ryan was not Paul's son plus and he was from South Bend Indiana. Plus, my last name is Newman so why not choose a driver with the same last name!
The 2002 Daytona 500 was just a week away so I got me my first Ryan Newman tee shirt. Then I joined the Ryan Newman Fan Club on the internet. Wouldn't you know it. I got a phone call from Ryan's mother Diane about the correct size of my Fan Club tee shirt. Well we talked a while about Ryan and racing in general and she told me I could call her anytime. This is not what you want to say to a total stranger who is a fan of your son! Don't worry, I didn't abuse the situation.
Months later. I had called Diane and she told me she was going down to visit Ryan down in Carolina to see him race in The Winston(2002 All Star Race) I asked her, if I send you an 8x10 centerfold of Ryan from a magazine. Could you have him autograph it "to me" and send it back to me? She said,"Not a problem!" That showed me just how nice these Nascar family's are to their fans. I still have this framed because it's very RARE that Ryan will autograph something dedicated to an individual. He mainly just signs his name!
Went to his very first Fan Appreciation Day back in 2002. Met Don Miller(VP of PRS). Met his mother,father many high school friends and family. Met Krissie and Ryan. It rained that day so I got stuck inside his fathers garage ("G&G") and got to blab with Greg Newman a bit. I also attended Fan Day 2003-2005. At fan day 2004. Ryan was giving rides around Michigan Speedway in a stock Dodge Viper to 20 lucky raffle winners. One was my sister Laurie. I still have those pictures. Ryan did about 160 with my sister. She was the very last ride!
The rest is history after I got to meet Ryan. It hooks you meeting your driver in his rookie year. You buy all that Nascar stuff till you run out of money. They know how to get you hooked. There pretty smart!