Two years after his last NASCAR Cup Series race, Ryan Newman will make his return at Darlington Raceway on 14 April, driving for Rick Ware Racing. He will run multiple races for the team, though a specific schedule was not immediately revealed.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Rick Ware Racing and Ford,” said Newman. “I think this will be good for all of us with our combined experience and knowledge.
“Being part of the Throwback Weekend at one of my favorite tracks in Darlington is pretty special. After recently being named one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers, it carries even some significance.”
Newman’s last Cup action was in 2021 when he finished twenty-eighth in points for Roush Fenway Racing before his seat was taken by Brad Keselowski, who purchased a stake in the team and rebranded it to RFK Racing. Since his departure, he returned to his roots in dirt track racing while also running the Superstar Racing Experience, a series founded and operated by his former employer Tony Stewart, and was second in the championship with a win at Stafford. He will once again race in SRX in 2023.
He was named one of the seventy-five greatest drivers in NASCAR’s history by the sanctioning body in recognition of his accolades including eighteen Cup wins, the 2008 Daytona 500, 2002 All-Star Race, a 2014 Cup championship runner-up finish, and being one of forty-one drivers to have won in all three national series. Newman has also won in the ARCA Menards Series, International Race of Champions, and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Nicknamed “Rocket Man”, he has fifty-one poles in his Cup career, once again making him the active leader for the most in the series and ranking him ninth all time.
“I remember watching Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN and seeing Ryan compete against some stout competition in those days,” team owner Rick Ware commented. “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. Ryan’s been a great ambassador for our sport and Ford. We’re really looking forward to racing with him this season.”
While Newman has never won at Darlington, he has seven top-five finishes and fourteen top tens in twenty-six career tries. His best finish of second came in just his second start in 2002, another chapter of a season that earned him Rookie of the Year honours.
Following Cody Ware‘s suspension, both RWR cars are multi-driver vehicles. The #51 is thirty-fourth in owner points with drivers including Ware, Matt Crafton, Zane Smith, and J.J. Yeley, with Yeley holding the best run of eleventh at Talladega. The #15 is two spots ahead in the standings courtesy of Yeley, Jenson Button, Todd Gilliland, Riley Herbst, and Brennan Poole; Herbst scored a top ten in the season-opening Daytona 500.