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SRX Point Leader Ryan Newman Looking to Adapt Quickly at Pulaski County

On this week's episode of The Bullring, Newman admitted he's never seen Pulaski County Motorsports Park, much less raced at it. However, he feels he'll learn the place quickly.


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Ryan Newman holds a 15-point advantage over Marco Andretti for the Camping World SRX Series point lead heading into the third event of the 2023 season Thursday at Pulaski County Motorsports Park.

The 45-year-old racer finished runner-up to Denny Hamlin in the weather-shortened SRX season opener and then came on strong late in the race last week at Stafford Speedway and would go on to win.

Newman was elated to score another SRX win this past weekend, but feels that he may have actually had more fun in his runner-up finish in the opening week of the season.

"Yeah, I'm not exactly sure if that's made up for it or not. And I'm not sure if Denny won or if Mother Nature won that first one, but either way, it was still a lot of fun," Newman said on this week's episode of The Bullring on Racing America. "Especially the first week. The second week was fun getting into victory lane, no doubt, but the first week, jumping into the backup car before the feature and sorting it out. And then only having 50-55 laps to get to second and be chasing down the leader. The lightning hit on the Thursday Night Thunder show was good timing for them, bad timing for me."

Newman is a fan of the new Goodyear radial tires in the SRX Series this season. Prior to this year, the series utilized a Goodyear Bias-Ply tire. Newman is comfortable with the radial technology, as he ran on them for years in the NASCAR world, and he'll do so again this weekend at Richmond Raceway for Rick Ware Racing in the No. 51 Ford Mustang.


In the interview with Racing America, Newman seemed joyful, chipper even, and for good reason.

It's been a very, very solid start to the SRX campaign for the 18-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner. However, this week will present a unique challenge for Newman, as not only has he never raced around Pulaski County Motorsports Park, but he's never even seen the 0.416-mile short track in Virginia.

Despite going into Thursday's race cold turkey, Newman isn't stressed out about it. He's relying on some old-school race preparation techniques, and he is certain he can adapt quickly on Thursday night.

"I pulled up good old YouTube and watched a video of a CARS [Tour] race," Newman explained when pressed about how he's preparing for this race. "That'll show me just a little bit, but really being an experienced driver and racing multiple series at different race tracks -- not to the extent of Kyle Larson, but a high percentage of what he's done. It's usually pretty easy to adapt.

"In the end, it's two straightaways and two ends of a race track that make four corners. Having a limited amount of practice -- I assume we'll have either five laps or 10 laps of practice, but either way, it's pretty fair, pretty equal amongst all of us. I don't know of the 12 drivers who will actually have had laps at Motor Mile in the past."

The entire Camping World SRX Series season is on ESPN's Thursday Night Thunder this year, which kicks off every Thursday during the season at 9:00 PM ET.

For Newman, who worked his way up the NASCAR ladder by way of the original Thunder Series on ESPN, it's fun to see his career come full circle.

"There's no doubt that being on TV back in the day was making it easier for us to leap a few steps when it came to moving up to the next level," Newman admits of the impact ESPN had on his illustrious racing career. "When I say us, I mean myself, Tony Stewart, Kenny Irwin, Jeff Gordon. Even guys to the extent of Kenny Schrader, who got a chance to experience some of that stuff long before there was Thursday Night Thunder. There were shows that were aired.

"I sent Schrader an old midget race that I found on YouTube a couple of nights ago. That television exposure was huge for our careers, across the board for everybody. Not just for the drivers, but for the crew and all of the other people that were involved. It helped pave a smoother way than racing street stocks, late models, and non-televised races. Huge for me to be able to experience this, like you said, full circle 20-plus years later in the SRX Series."

After Newman completes Thursday night's race at Pulaski County Motorsports Park, he'll head to Richmond Raceway, where he'll compete in the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400.

Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond will be broadcast by USA Network and television coverage for that event will begin at 3:00 PM ET.

Photo Credit: SRX, Wayne Riegle

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