Ryan Newman returning to MIS for fan appreciation

Published 5:58 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2004

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Dowagiac Daily News
Ryan Newman is already making plans on returning to Michigan International Speedway, the site of his first 2004 NEXTEL Cup Series victory on Sunday in the DHL 400.
Newman and the rest of the NASCAR drivers will be back at MIS in August, however, he will return July 17 to hold a Fan Club Appreciation Day.
Fan Club members and those who wish to become members can participate in this event. Newman held a similar event at his father Greg's shop (G &G Auto on Juniper Street) in Niles in 2002. A few hundred fans were expected that day, however, the crowd was much larger and Newman spent more than five hours signing autographs and greeting fans.
Newman will not be signing autographs at the July 17 event.
The 2002 Fan Appreciation Day was held in Niles because Newman felt many fans were unable to get to the race tracks to see him. That year was Newman's first full-time season in what was then called the Winston Cup Series.
Newman, who drives the ALLTEL No. 12 Dodge for Penske Racing, is now on of NASCAR's brightest stars.
A graduate of Purdue University, Newman is currently ninth in the points chase after picking up his first win of the season. Newman led the series with eight victories last year.
Fan Club members, along with their spouse and children, or a guest, may attend the Appreciation Day, which will be held on the infield at MIS.
Those who wish to become Fan Club members may sign up that day and take part in the festivities. Fans may also sign up in advance at www.ryan12newman.com.
The event will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Among the activities will be a Mobil 1 show car on display, corporate displays from ALLTEl and Sony, and Newman's Team Caliber souvenir trailer where fans may purchase items.
Other events may be added.
A local Dodge dealer is also expected to have a Viper on display.
While no autographs will be signed, cameras, however fans are welcome to take pictures of Newman.
A special Fan Club T-shirt is also in the works for purchase on July 17.
Greg Newman predicted on Sunday before the DHL 400 that victories would be coming soon for his son.
Another reason why Michigan International Speedway is special to Newman and the ALLTEL Dodge team is that car owner, the legendary Roger Penske, owns the facility.
Newman made his sixth start at MIS on Sunday and earned his second consecutive victory.
Newman won the GFS Marketplace 400 last August. He now has four top-five finishes in those six starts to go along with his Busch victory in 2001.
Newman finished fifth in his NASCAR debut at MIS in 2001 and was third in the June race in 2002. He placed 41st in the June race last season after catching fire due to a blown engine.
His success in the NEXTEL Cup Series is a product of hard work and paying his dues at the lower levels of racing.
With more than 100 Quarter-Midget feature victories and two championships to his credit, Newman has been racing nearly his entire life.
In 1995 Newman was named USAC Midget Series Rookie of the Year. He is currently second in the Rookie of the Year race in the Winston Cup Series.
Newman continues his winning ways by winning the 1999 USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series national championship.
Newman also won in midgets and sprint cars that season making him the first drive to win in all three major USAC divisions.
Newman debuted in a stock car in June 2000 at Michigan International Speedway in the ARCA Series. He then won the next race he entered at Pocono. He also won at Kentucky and Lowe's in the ARCA Series that season.
Newman spent much of the 2001 season splitting time between three series. He raced a limited Winston Cup series, while also competing in the Busch Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
Newman made a big impact in all three series. He won the Bud Pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway and took a second at Kansas Speedway. He also won six poles in the Busch Series.