June 6 was the first Ryan Newman Day in the state of Michigan, and the four-time MIS winner wants to make sure it wasn't his last.
With his first MIS appearance of 2006 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it® Picture Paper just a week and a half away, Newman took the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing by storm on Tuesday. Along with Governor Jennifer Granholm's proclamation of June 6, 2006 as NASCAR Day, Senator Mark Schauer and Representative Leslie Mortimer delivered a resolution to announce the day as Ryan Newman Day in the state. Granholm, Schauer, Mortimer and several other key state legislators applauded Newman not only for his on-track success but for his off-track endeavors as well.
"Not only has he been a great success on the track, but he has been a champion in life as well," said Granholm. "So many NASCAR drivers invest in the community, and Ryan is no exception. He has his own foundation, with his wife, helping with humane societies. He's a big champion of preserving wildlife and land. It's tremendous to be able to be a success on the track, and it's even more important to help off of the track as well."
"It's pretty cool to have my own day in Michigan, a place that's close to home for me," said Newman. "My crew chief, Matt Borland, is from just down the street in Haslett, and he claims that this is God's country. I'm having a hard time disagreeing with him."
Newman was on hand to promote several important causes throughout his day at the Capitol, the first of which was the recently-approved $18.5 million allocation for highway improvement in the area surrounding MIS. Newman applauded the government leaders for their devotion to the loyal Michigan fan base.
"Fans drive the sport from my perspective, and the improvements are great for the fans," said Newman. "Without the fans, I wouldn't have my job. I really appreciate everything the legislature is doing in making the experience better for the fans, and we'll try to do our best in providing the thrills and chills on the track."
Along with the discussion on local highway improvement, Newman also promoted his Ryan Newman Foundation and the book Pit Road Pets, which features several top NASCAR drivers and their beloved animals. Newman and his wife, Krissie, have joined with local humane societies in many areas for the cause of animal preservation, and he continued to promote this cause during his day in Lansing.
Newman's recent success at Michigan is certainly nothing to ignore. In 12 starts at the two-mile oval, Newman has compiled two NEXTEL Cup and two NASCAR Busch Series victories each. His two Cup victories came back-to-back in August 2003 and June 2004, and his most recent Busch victory leaves him as the defending MIS Busch winner entering this August's Carfax 250 at MIS.
Being a native of nearby South Bend, Indiana, Newman experienced MIS long before his ascent to the top of NASCAR's ranks.
"The first time I came to MIS was 1993 or 1994, just as a fan. We parked right behind the main grandstand and got to our seats right before the green flag fell. It was one of my first experiences with NASCAR and it left a great impression on me," said Newman.
As the 2004 Father's Day race winner at MIS, Newman aspires to repeat the feat on June 18 in the Irish Hills.
"In 2004, I didn't get anything for my dad for Father's Day because I was so busy, and when I won I told him that this was all he was getting. That was a pretty special gift for him and I wouldn't mind doing that again," Newman said.
Before leaving the Capitol in the afternoon, Newman got the chance to be introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives. As the legislators representing the MIS area explained their district alignments to Newman, he maintained that there was really only one locale that concerned him.
"I'd like to make Victory Lane my district in a couple of weeks."
Tickets for both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, the
June 18 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it® Picture Paper and the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400, are currently on sale at MIS's official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. Tickets to all other events, which include the IRL IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Busch Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series are also now available.
Great racing action returns to Michigan International Speedway in 2006. For additional information, please call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 1-800-354-1010.
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