Ryan Newman is the odd driver out at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 with the recent announcement of the worst kept secret in racing. Kevin Herrick will be joining the team that includes owner, and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, Tony Stewart, and Danica Patrick. While the Indiana driver will certainly have several opportunities to consider, one in particular seems to offer the most interesting possibility.
Tommy Baldwin Racing is a team transitioning from a start and park operation over the past few years to one that is trying to run all the laps of every race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule in 2013. While it looks as though TBR will be able to compete in all the events with primary drivers Dave Blaney and J J Yeley, they still lack the sponsorship to put them in a position to run up front with any consistency.
Ryan Newman, meanwhile, has been told by Tony Stewart that he will not be offered a contract for 2014 and beyond. This despite a career that has seen him accumulate 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins in his 14 years of driving in the sport’s highest division. He has also captured 49 poles, and has a win in each of the last three years.
The Indiana native is also one of a select few drivers to have won in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions. He has 7 Nationwide wins, and one Camping World Truck Series wins in his career. He also has four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins to his credit, and that is where an interesting connection to Tommy Baldwin comes in.
When Ryan Newman competes in NASCAR ‘s only open-wheel division he drives a car numbered 7NY. This is a number made famous by Tommy Baldwin’s late father, “Tiger” Tom Baldwin, while competing throughout the Northeast, and on the “Tour.” A car that Tommy Baldwin learned his craft on, and advanced from being his father’s crew chief to Sprint Cup race winning crew chief.
TBR is currently fielding a 7 car in Sprint Cup with a small NY that is driven by Dave Blaney. While it would be a nice transition to see Ryan Newman bring his driving talents from the number 7NY Modified to the number 7 Sprint Cup car, perhaps he could bring something even more important. Sponsorship.
Race fans from eight to eighty know you can’t compete at the highest level of NASCAR without significant sponsorship dollars. Ryan Newman may just have enough of a winning reputation to bring that much needed help to TBR. In fact, Newman could do much of the same as Kurt Busch is doing for Furniture Row Racing this season. Busch has taken that team from one that was a nice story when they ran up front to one that is expected to be up front every week.
Ryan Newman needs a NASCAR Sprint Cup ride. Tommy Baldwin Racing needs a driver who can take them to the next level. It seems like a perfect match. Only time, and sponsorship dollars will tell.