This Indiana native was born Ryan Joseph Newman on December 8th, 1977 in South Bend. Ryan is one of the few NASCAR drivers that has a degree to his name. He studied at Purdue University, pursuing Vehicle Structure Engineering. Newman was also a recipient of the Rich Vogler Memorial Scholarship and while he was studying at the South Bend LaSalle High School, he was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated with honors. His wife, Krissie Boyle, is a graduate from the Shippensburg University with a degree in Criminal Justice
Ryan started racing at age four with quarter midgets, midgets, sprint cars and silver crown cars. It was always a childhood ambition for Newman to race with the big boys of NASCAR. At the age of 16, Newman made his racing debut in 1993 in the All-American Midget Series. That year he won the Rookie of Year and the championship. Given his dedication and passion for racing, he had 100 feature wins and two titles awarded to him which landed him into the Quarter Midget Series. He won the Rookie of the Year title again in 1995 when he joined the USAC in 1995 for both the Midget series and the Silver Crown. When he turned 22, Ryan Newman became the first driver to win all three divisions (Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown) in one season while still remaining the Silver Bullet Series champion.
Ryan made the decision to go under legend Roger Penske’s wing in 2000 which proved to be an excellent melting pot. He snatched three ARCA RE/MAX victories in five races and also made his Cup series debut at the Phoenix International Raceway. Education was exceedingly important to Newman so in 2001, while he was still racing in ARCA and NASCAR, he attended Purdue University and emerged with a degree in Vehicle Structure Engineering.
Ryan Newman turned heads when he showed his true colors in the Coca-Cola 600. Although he ended his night with an accident on two turns, he managed to bring home his first NASCAR victory in the Busch Series at Michigan. Newman also teamed up with Matt Borland and they became the first driver-crew chief team to both have degrees in engineering. Later on the same season, Newman won his first career race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and this race was also significant to Newman because his father attended it. Newman’s consistency throughout the season proved to be fruitful when he was given the title Rookie of the Year.
Although Ryan’s sophomore season was not as much of a success as his rookie one and despite the famous flip he endured during the Daytona 500 and Talladega, Newman was able to finish sixth in points. His nick name “Rocket Man” was earned because of the number of poles he received during the season. Newman qualified for the Chase for the Cup in 2004 with a seventh spot in hand and two wins, he went back again the next year with his second New Hampshire victory. The same year he entered the Busch Series again.
Besides his zeal for racing, the Ryan’s started up the Ryan Newman foundation in 2005 to help both people and animals. The foundation circles around three main areas which is the Companion Animals & Animal Welfare, Conversation & Preservation of Wildlife and the Auto Racing Scholarships. The Auto Racing Scholarships is to help students who are studying at a university while still racing in quarter midget, midget and Silver Crown auto racing. The Companion Animals & Animal Welfare charity is aimed to reduce the overpopulation and euthanization of abandoned pets and providing humane education to both the young and old in order to prevent cruelty towards animals.