How the Chili Bowl Could be Decided before the Start
Jan 15, 2022
Ryan Newman doesn't yet know what his future in motorsports entails, but whatever it is begins on Saturday night in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals with Clauson Marshall Racing.
The 20-year Cup Series veteran will start his night 11th in the first C-main, an impressive mark considering this is only his second Chili Bowl and comes largely against drivers that race Midgets throughout the year.
He got there with a 13th place finish in the final preliminary night feature on Friday. His night also included a ninth to third performance in his heat and a net gain/loss performance in his qualifier. He started 13th and finished there in his feature.
Newman was largely proud of the effort, even if he wanted more in the feature.
"I mean, I guess in the grand scheme of things, 13th out of about 82, isn't bad, but it's not where we want to be," Newman said. "Ricky (Stenhouse, teammate) had a good run and it's Driven2SaveLives night, which we could have done a little bit better for those people more than anybody."
Newman is representing the colors of the Indiana Organ Donor Foundation in memory of the late Bryan Clauson.
"But overall, it is my best run and I don't know where that puts us for tomorrow, but we were going to have to race in regardless, so we'll go do that tomorrow," Newman said.
Newman appears to have just completed a 20-year run at the highest level of NASCAR where he won 18 times in 725 starts across Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing.
His contract expired at the end of the season, and he hasn’t been signed for 2022, although he still very much wants to race.
As far as the 44-year-old is concerned, he will race something, somewhere consistently as his options become more apparent over the winter. That could mean starts in the USAC Silver Crown Series, where he claimed the 1999 championship with two wins or even Tour Type Modifieds, where he has made countless starts over the past two decades.
"All of that," Newman said. "I want to race and have fun and play and do what I’ve always enjoyed for the most part. I want to get back to more fun, but there’s nothing on the schedule yet. Nothing on paper yet."
The priority for Newman is simply having fun at a race he’s admires with a team and sponsor he admires even more.
"They do it right," Newman said. "Proud to be a part of it. Like I said, Driven2Savelives. If you get a chance, sign up to be an organ owner. It's very important."