Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Top 10 drivers not in the IndyCar Series - # 8 Ryan Newman

IndyCar Garage breaks down ten drivers that aren’t driving in the IndyCar Series and what their impact would have done or could do to the IndyCar series. This includes drivers that have raced partial schedules in years past or in the present season.

IndyCar Garage continues it’s countdown of the top ten drivers not currently driving full-time in the IndyCar Series with driver number eight.

RYAN NEWMAN – AMERICAN – 31 – Chances of Joining the ICS = 10%

Ryan Newman is an Indiana native that grew up racing on the USAC circuit and was the rookie of the year in both the Midget Series and the Silver Crown in 1996. In 1999, at the age of 22, he was the first driver to win in all three divisions while being the Silver Bullet Series champion. While winning all three series, he was attending Purdue University, where he would graduate from in 2001. Newman is only the Sprint Cup driver that has a college degree. Newman developed a relationship with Roger Penske in 2000 while driving in the ARCA RE/MAX Series for Penske. Penske then had Newman race in the Busch Series the following year. By 2002 Newman was racing in the highest level of NASCAR and beat out Jimmie Johnson for Rookie of the Year at the age of 25. Newman is a driver who took the best choice given to him at time, which was NASCAR.

At the time Penske started his relationship with Newman, Penske’s open wheel program was still participating in CART. Had the IndyCar series been unified at the time, Newman possibly could have been funneled into the open wheel program at Penske. Newman rewarded Penske with 21 career wins in the top three divisions of NASCAR and put him victory lane for the 2008 Daytona 500. The likely hood of Newman returning to open wheel is slim because of his success in NASCAR. The only possibility for Newman to see open wheel time is the recent move he made from Penske to newly created Stewart-Haas Racing, and still that chance is very small. Newman is a prime example of what the split did to young American open wheel drivers coming up through the USAC series, it lead them to NASCAR.

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