Newman takes Brickyard 400
Published on -7/29/2013, 10:09 AM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A born and bred Hoosier, Ryan Newman spent his childhood racing everywhere from Anderson to Winchester and every short track he could find in a state mad about racing.
He graduated from Purdue and landed a summer job working in Jeff Gordon's old race shop in Pittsboro. One of the perks? He got to live in the shop and sleep alongside the cars.
And like many Indiana kids, he revered Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track he first visited in 1986 and later accidentally stumbled upon NASCAR's inaugural 1992 test while out buying tires with his mother.
A win at the famed Brickyard? That would be a dream come true for the South Bend native.
Newman made the boyhood dream a cool reality, taking the checkered flag Sunday to end a 49-race winless streak in front of his home state fans. His parents, who fueled his love of racing and took him to the 500 as a kid, joined him for his biggest win in Indiana.
Newman was as cool and collected in Victory Lane as he was on the track when he held off Jimmie Johnson. There were no tears, no quiver in his voice and no need to collect himself as Newman was strangely stoic.
"I don't show a lot of emotion, I think everybody knows that," said Newman, who likened the victory to his 2008 win at the Daytona 500. "I had the same emotion, the same thankfulness I did when I won the Daytona 500 because I feel everybody that has been a part of my racing career -- from people that bought my racing uniform, bought me a right rear tire, given us a credit card to get to some race track at some point in my career -- those are the people that helped me get to where I am today.
"To me, it's awesome to be here at Indy. It's awesome because it's my home state. I've raced go karts at pretty much every go kart track around here, been kicked out of half of them. Those are the things that make it special. I think about those things more than I carry the emotion on my cheeks."
So the emotion was seen in father Greg, who spotted for Newman on Sunday, and his mother, Diane.
Newman kept it together during his celebratory burnout and the drive to Victory Lane, a hallowed area that he twice had to ask his crew over the radio for directions how to get there. He took the customary ride in a convertible around the track with his wife and two young daughters, and happily bowed again and again to kiss the Yard of Bricks.
Sure, he smiled, and shared some tender hugs with one of his daughters.
But that was the most anyone was getting out of Newman, who had admitted to getting emotional after winning the pole on Saturday but seemed almost numb following Sunday's win.