Roush Fenway Racing officially introduced Brad Keselowski as a driver-owner on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The NASCAR team confirmed that the 2012 Cup Series champion will move to the No. 6 in 2022, which immediately created questions about Ryan Newman. According to team president Steve Newmark, the veteran driver is still examining his options.
Newmark addressed Newman’s future during a media availability at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He said that the team and Keselowski had initially discussed expanding to a three-car team to keep Newman in the building. However, they determined that the best path forward to achieve the goal of contending for a championship was to stick with only two cars. Newmark also specifically mentioned the rising costs of acquiring charters as a reason for this decision.
While Newman will lose his full-time ride, he could stick with Roush Fenway in a different role. Newmark explained that the team floated the idea of a part-time role past Newman. RFR is currently waiting for the veteran to examine “the best path” for him moving toward the 2022 season.
“Ryan Newman has done everything we have asked of him. We have been unbelievably appreciative of his efforts,” Newmark said, per RFR. “We have been in conversations about a part-time role, but he is still deciding on his plans for 2022.”
Newman Joined RFR Ahead of the 2019 Season
A longtime driver for Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing, Newman made the move over to RFR after the 2018 season. He climbed into the No. 6 Ford Mustang and racked up 14 top-10 finishes and three top-fives, reaching the playoffs in the process. Newman was one of four drivers eliminated after the Round of 16.
Entering 2020, Newman had the opportunity to continue his success with RFR, and he came within a few hundred yards of winning the season-opening Daytona 500. However, a massive crash sent Newman to the hospital. He ultimately missed three races while recovering and returned to the lineup after the COVID-19 postponement.
Newman has started every race of the 2021 season while finishing out his current contract with RFR. He and the No. 6 team have struggled, only posting three top-10 finishes and one top-five. Newman is 27th in points and far below the playoff cut line with four regular-season races remaining.
Newman Still Has Championship Goals in NASCAR
As a veteran with 711 starts to his name, Newman has achieved a considerable amount at NASCAR’s top level. He has 18 wins at some of the toughest circuits, including New Hampshire Motor Speedway (three times), Phoenix Raceway (twice), and Dover International Speedway (three times).
Newman has also secured two of NASCAR’s coveted Crown Jewels, four races at iconic tracks. He won the Daytona 500 in 2008 and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2013. The only Crown Jewels remaining are the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500.
However, Newman previously explained to NBC Sports that he still has one goal remaining: He wants to walk away from the Cup Series as a champion. He finished second in 2014, the first year of the championship race format, but he has yet to hold the Bill France Cup.
“The reality is any driver that goes out on their own terms has quit, right?” Newman said. “That’s the only way it works. So I’m not a quitter. I haven’t achieved my goal, so the only way I would go out on somebody else’s terms is if they quit me. That’s not good teamwork.
“I’ve got to put myself in position with the right people that have a common goal of winning races and eventually winning a championship. I know that I’m at that place. That doesn’t mean I’ll stay at that place, but I’m at that place. As long as I’m capable, in other words, able to do the things I need to on and off the racetrack to be successful, then I’ll continue to do so with the hopes of living out my lifelong dream to be a Cup champion.”
There is no clear answer as to whether Newman will have the opportunity to pursue a Cup Series championship in 2022. Racing part-time for RFR is an option, but he won’t be eligible for the playoffs. He would need to find a full-time seat with another team to chase his dreams.