Get ready, NASCAR fans, because the Rocket Man has returned. After the 2021 season, many fans speculated that NASCAR legend Ryan Newman might have retired from the racing organization. Newman, however, said that he’s far from finished with racing. He has no plans to compete in the Cup Series this year, though. Instead, he wants to race just for fun.
And the fun begins this very evening with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150 at the Richmond Raceway. Ryan Newman will compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driving the SS Racing No. 39 car.
Ahead of the race, the veteran driver gave his thoughts on the race and the state of NASCAR in an interview with FOX Sports. “I’ve watched,” Newman said. “I wouldn’t say diligently, but I’ve watched from a distance, just what’s going on and things like that.”
Ryan Newman is racing a modified today at Richmond, his first race since Chili Bowl. Newman: “I’m enjoying life no doubt.” pic.twitter.com/CJpKbSET0A— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 1, 2022
“But overall, just happy to be here in one of the best, if not the best short track in Richmond,” Newman continued. “[I got] the opportunity to come out here and race the modified. We were in contention to win last year, and we’ll try it again this year.”
Though Ryan Newman has toyed with the idea of competing in more modified races this year, he hasn’t made any decisions yet. “In the end, we want to have a good showing tonight,” Newman said. “This is all brand new stuff, people and everything else, so we’re just trying to get one thing done before the next.”
Veteran Driver Ryan Newman Talks Current State of NASCAR
When asked if watching the races from homemade him miss the thrill of competition, Ryan Newman shared mixed feelings. The NASCAR legend says that there are certain tracks that make him miss the driver’s seat more than others, but he wasn’t a huge fan of some of the other races this year.
He was then asked if anything surprised him when watching from the sidelines, to which he replied, “Not really. The inability to drive a car back with flat tires was a surprise to all. But, in general, I think it’s been fairly similar. I think [Richmond] will probably be more similar than it’s ever been because of the lack of air speed and things like that.”
Newman has had plenty of calls offering a return to the track, but he was in no hurry. He knew that the right call would come eventually. “I’ve gotten some calls,” Newman said. “But I always said that I wouldn’t do it unless I could do it right. With the right people, the right team to have the right results. I feel like I haven’t had that in the last few years. I want to give myself a fair shot if and when that does happen, which is why I’m here today.”
Though he’s happy to be back on a NASCAR track, Ryan Newman hasn’t had any of the “retirement” pains that other drivers have reported. “I’m enjoying life, no doubt,” he said. “Some guys just have trouble. I feel like I’m good. We’ll see how today goes but I’m excited to get back in the car and race.”