The sight of Ryan Newman on pit road at Richmond Raceway on Friday, when taking where he’s been and what he’s done the last two decades, was far from unusual or out of place. That is, until where he’s been and what he’s been doing this season is taken into account.
On Friday, Newman was back at the racetrack on a NASCAR race weekend for the first time since losing his Cup ride at the end of the 2021 season. This time he’s preparing to run in Friday night’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race for Sadler-Stanley Racing. It’s his first race since January’s Chili Bowl Nationals, as Newman has adjusted to a new life that doesn’t involve racing full-time in NASCAR for the first time since 2002.
Speaking to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, Ryan Newman shared an update on how he’s adjusted to no longer racing full-time in NASCAR, sharing that he’s focused on farming, working around the house and taking care of his kids while keeping up with the Cup Series from a distance.
“I’ve watched — I wouldn’t say diligently — but I’ve watched from a distance of just what’s going on and things like that,” Newman said. “… I think two of the last three weekends I’ve been out splitting wood in the middle of the race and go back in to watch the last stage. I get what all the fans are talking about now.”
In discussing what he’s seen from afar and how he’s felt not being in a Cup car, Newman stated that certain tracks have made him miss it more than others, while certain races at other tracks have not been to his liking. Newman shared that he has received “some calls” about driving in NASCAR, but he has remained steadfast in his assertion that he would only come back for the right opportunity to compete.
“I’ve always said that I wouldn’t do it unless I could do it right and do it with the right people and the right team to have the right results,” Newman said. “I feel like I haven’t had that the last few years, and I want to give myself a fair shot if and when it does happen.”
As of now, Friday night at Richmond will mark Newman’s first Modified race of a 2022 slate of racing that will also include the full SRX season in the summertime. Otherwise, Newman is content with his current situation and has not had trouble adjusting to life beyond racing full-time in Cup.
“I’m enjoying life, no doubt,” Newman said. “… I feel like I’m good. We’ll see how today goes, but I’m excited to get back in the car and race.”
Newman has made occasional starts on the Modified Tour almost every year since 2008, and he is usually a threat to win. Last year, Newman competed in three Modified races with a best finish of fourth at New Hampshire.