Ryan Newman quietly made his return to NASCAR

Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Though not in the Xfinity Series or the Cup Series, Ryan Newman found himself making a quiet return to NASCAR in a touring series over the weekend.

NASCAR Cup Series veteran Ryan Newman has been out of the sport since being replaced behind the wheel of the #6 Ford after the 2021 season, when former Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski bought into Roush Fenway Racing and they became RFK Racing.

After being subjected to rumors claiming he could land a part-time ride with RFK Racing alongside Keselowski and Chris Buescher, or possibly with a smaller team such as Rick Ware Racing, Newman elected to not compete in the 2022 NASCAR season due to a lack of a full-time ride.

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The South Bend, Indiana native has instead decided to spend 2022 with his family thus far, but he debunked the “retired” label by electing to compete in SRX this summer. Stemming from his desire to race at the “grass roots” level, the veteran has found opportunities to do just that.

But a short track opportunity paved the way for Newman to return to NASCAR this past weekend.

Newman competed in Friday night’s Whelen Modified Tour race at Richmond Raceway. A prototype stock car/open-wheel hybrid series gave the 44-year-old the opportunity to find himself in the NASCAR scene again.

Newman ran up front for a portion of the race, as high as second place at one point, but ultimately settled for 13th. He has been no stranger to success at the four-turn, 0.75-mile (1.207-kilometer) oval in Richmond, Virginia, scoring a Cup Series win there in 2003.

The 2008 Daytona 500 winner competed in a Whelen Modified Tour race last year at the same track, where he led six laps and finished in fourth place. Having not scored a race win since 2017 when he won at Phoenix Raceway, his results have shown that he can still compete in a NASCAR-sanctioned series.

While it’s unclear whether Newman will race in the series again, it’s hard to believe that the opportunity for him to do so won’t present itself at some point.

He is also technically eligible to compete in the 2022 All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway, so an opportunity to run a non-points race in the Cup Series could be in the cards if he finds an open seat.

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Regardless of whether or not a Cup return happens, Newman has shown that he is far from retired. He is not even done with NASCAR, despite not landing a full-time ride for 2022.