The “Rocket Man” is back on the grid after it was announced that Ryan Newman will be joining Rick Ware Racing and make select starts throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
The 45-year-old Newman from South Bend, Indiana, is scheduled to make his first Cup start of the season next weekend at Darlington Raceway for the Goodyear 400 and as part of NASCAR’s Throwback Weekend. The news comes two weeks after Newman was added to NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Rick Ware Racing and Ford,” Newman said. “I think this will be good for all of us with our combined experience and knowledge.”
The Goodyear 400 at Darlington will mark Newman’s first start in NASCAR’s premier series since the 2021 season finale at Phoenix Raceway, which also marks his final full-time campaign in NASCAR to date. In 26 previous starts at Darlington, Newman has achieved seven top-five results and 14 top-10 results. His best result at the track is second, which occurred in September 2002.
“Being part of the Throwback Weekend at one of my favorite tracks in Darlington is pretty special,” Newman added. “After recently being named one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers, it carries even some significance.”
Making his inaugural presence in the NASCAR Cup Series in November 2000 at Phoenix Raceway, Newman has embarked on an illustrious career in 20 full-time seasons and 725 career starts between Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Richard Childress Racing and most recently, Roush Fenway Racing. He won the 2002 All-Star Race as a rookie competitor before claiming his first Cup points-paying victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 2002. After claiming the 2002 Rookie of the Year title, he notched a career-high eight victories and 11 poles throughout the 2003 season before finishing sixth in the final standings.
Of his 18 Cup career victories to date, his biggest wins include winning the 50th annual Daytona 500 in 2008 with Team Penske and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2013 with Stewart-Haas Racing. His last Cup victory to date occurred at Phoenix in March 2017 with Richard Childress Racing. Dubbed the “Rocket Man” with 51 career poles, he has also recorded 117 top-five results, 268 top-10 results, 4,863 laps led, an average-finishing result of 16.5 and nine career Playoff appearances. His best result in the championship standings is second, which occurred during the 2014 season and during his first season with RCR.
Since being left without a ride in NASCAR prior to 2022 and after three full-time seasons at Roush Fenway Racing (2019-21), Newman has competed in dirt racing. In addition to his Cup Series return, he is also set to compete in his second full-time season in the SRX Series after finishing second in the 2022 championship standings.
“I remember watching ‘Thursday Night Thunder’ on ESPN and seeing Ryan compete against some stout competition in those days,” Rick Ware, team owner of Rick Ware Racing, said. “I became a fan then and when he first came to NASCAR, I knew he was going to be a great driver and win a lot of races.
“He brings great depth and insight to RWR while we continue to grow our team,” Ware added. “Ryan’s been a great ambassador for our sport and Ford. We’re really looking forward to racing with him this season.”
Newman’s first of select NASCAR Cup Series starts of the 2023 season is set to occur at Darlington Raceway for the Goodyear 400. The event is scheduled to occur on May 14 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1.