Ryan Newman Brings Fresh Eyes to NASCAR’s Next Gen Era

Getty Ryan Newman will provide fresh information for Chris Buescher.

Rick Ware Racing announced prior to the Kansas race that Ryan Newman will make his Cup Series return on a limited schedule. He is unlikely to contend for the win, but he will be able to potentially provide many drivers with fresh information about the Next Gen car.

Newman’s last start — the 2021 season finale — took place in the Gen 6 Ford Mustang. Now, he will take his first laps in the Next Gen car. For former Roush teammate Chris Buescher, this will add some educational opportunities as he talks to the man with an engineering degree from Purdue.

“Cool to see him back at the race track, heading back,” Buescher said during a media session on May 6. “I’m curious to get his thoughts on the new car. We’ve been in it a long time now.

“We’ve kind of seen all the baby transitions along the way, but he’ll have a pretty good previous-gen car [comparison] to where we currently stand now with this one. He’ll have a pretty good idea of what’s what and what’s different, so I would be curious to talk to him about that as well.”

Newman Has Already Provided Some Insight Into His Return

GettyRyan Newman prepares for a race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

No one knows how Newman will adapt to the Next Gen car, nor do they know if he will be able to provide any new information after completing his first laps around Darlington Raceway.

That being said, there is some information available, courtesy of Autoweek’s Deb Williams. She learned that Newman will only take on short tracks after the trip to Darlington Raceway. He only agreed to suit up at the South Carolina track so that he would be eligible for the All-Star Open at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

The remaining races on Newman’s schedule will take place at some historic locations. He will return to the No. 51 Ford Mustang at Richmond Raceway on Sunday, July 30. He will then take on Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 16, and Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 29.

What is the reason for the lack of intermediate tracks? It all boils down to one thing — safety. According to Autoweek, Newman said that the Next Gen car is not as safe as it should be on the bigger tracks. He added that he doesn’t want to be a “crash test dummy.”

Newman Will Have a Learning Curve

As Newman explained, there will be some major changes to which he’ll have to adapt. The biggest will be the shifting involved on the short tracks. Newman will also have to deal with a sequential shifter instead of the standard h-pattern with which he was very familiar.

Newman will first have to deal with the changes to the car at a track where he has contended for wins but ultimately fallen short of Victory Lane. He will then take on a short track at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Newman has contended for wins at Bristol, Martinsville, and Richmond while achieving this goal twice. He won the 2003 fall race at Richmond while driving for Team Penske and then he won the 2012 spring race at Martinsville while driving for Stewart-Haas Racing.

How will Newman fare during his return to the Cup Series? The answer remains unknown, but he told Autoweek that “with the way the rules are there’s no reason that it can’t be a competitive or somewhat competitive car.”

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