GOOD LUCK TO YOU, RYAN, I WISH YOU THE VERY BEST.......
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will end the second chapter of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he will make his final start for SHR in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400.
The South Bend, Ind., native has driven for team owner and teammate Tony Stewart since leaving Penske Racing for Kannapolis, N.C.-based SHR in 2009. Over the course of their five-year relationship, Newman and the No. 39 team accumulated eight poles, four wins, 30 top-five finishes and 78 top-10s in 179 races while qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in three of their five seasons together, including the 2013 edition of NASCAR’s 10-race playoff.
While a championship has eluded the 14-year Sprint Cup veteran during his tenure with SHR, the last five seasons were not without some milestone moments, the most significant of which unfolded a little more than three months ago.
When Newman arrived at SHR in 2009, he was already a Daytona 500 champion, having won NASCAR’s version of the “Super Bowl” in 2008. A close second to the Daytona 500 on the prestige scale is the annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the proverbial backyard track for Newman. He added the title Brickyard 400 champion to his resume in July in what was the 20th running of the event. Adding to the notoriety of the occasion was the fact Newman scored victory on the heels of news that he would depart SHR at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
The moment was a bittersweet triumph as it gave the 35-year-old driver one last opportunity to celebrate in victory lane with Stewart and the No. 39 team. Now, Newman would like nothing more than to put one more mark in the win column before his run with SHR comes to a close.
Enter this weekend’s event in Miami.
Since making his first Sprint Cup start at the 1.5-mile oval in 2002, Newman has accumulated four top-10s, including a third-place effort earned in this race one year ago. While the South Florida track hasn’t historically been one of Newman’s strong suits, it’s his recent success that has him feeling confident entering the final race of the 2013 season.
If Newman is able to replicate his 2012 Homestead finish, it would give both him and his fans something to cheer about. Because, thanks to Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender, not only would Newman be able to close out the latest chapter of his career on a high note, but 10 more mortgages would be paid for a month via the “Bring It Home” sweepstakes.
Race fans in attendance, as well as those watching at home, no doubt will push Newman to “Bring It Home” for one last victory at SHR.
RYAN NEWMAN, Driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Can you reflect a little bit about making your final start for Stewart-Haas Racing at Miami this weekend?
“About four or five weeks ago, somebody had asked me a similar question and, to me, it was like a series of books where you’re not finished with one book so you can’t start the next and, in that series of books, you have to get the last couple chapters over and done in order to get started and understand the next one. There’s part of me that’s excited about the future, no doubt, and getting to that next book. But there’s part of me that wants to finish out this last chapter strongly and do it in the right way. I’ve run well at Homestead. We finished third in this race last year. I can’t even say that it’s bittersweet because I don’t look at it as bittersweet as it’s just a matter of doing my job and having fun. That’s what the whole goal is.”
Homestead has not been one of your better racetracks. Talk about racing at Homestead and this weekend’s season finale.
“I really look forward to Homestead. It’s a really fun racetrack for all of us. For us to go down there and end the season on a racetrack that is very raceable is something I’m happy about. They really did a great job the third time around on redesigning that racetrack. It’s a great place to have a championship weekend for all three series. I’ve not had the best record there, but we did finish third in this race last year. I’d like nothing more than to end the season on a high note and end the season on a good note for everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
What would it mean to you if you were able to win this weekend at Homestead-Miami?
“It would be really special. I’ve had a great five years with Stewart-Haas Racing. I’d like nothing more than to go out on top. Not only for me, but for everyone on this No. 39 team. The guys at the shop, all of the partners that have supported me over the last five years. It would mean a lot for me to finish out the 2013 season on a high note. I feel like we’ve been pretty decent on the intermediate tracks over the second half of the season, so I feel like we have just as much of a shot at it as anyone if things go our way. But, it would certainly mean a lot to me if we were able to close out 2013 with a win!
"Take this as your warning: I gave you guys 14 weeks without me. I'll be back and ready at Daytona to kick your #### again," Smoke