Ryan Newman will join several other NASCAR drivers Wednesday when they travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and spend time with soldiers who are back from Iraq and Afghanistan. The special day begins around 2 p.m. with visits to the hospital's different wards. After nearly three hours of talking with the soldiers, the drivers will spend an hour signing autographs and taking pictures with them.
A dinner and mini concert will occur just before the drivers get on stage for a brief question-and-answer session. Then it is off to Dulles International for their return to North Carolina before the drivers and teams leave for this weekend's Lifelock 400 at Kansas Speedway. This is Newman's first trip to the annual "Tribute to the Soldiers" event.
"I'm excited to go up to D.C. and visit with the troops. I didn't get to go last year when the drivers went up to Walter Reed, but I think it's a great opportunity for us to show the men and women in the military how much we support them," Newman said.
Newman will make his seventh Cup start at Kansas Speedway. It will be his 217th career start in the Cup Series.
Newman has an average start of 10.7 and an average finish of 14.2 at Kansas. He has started every race at the 1.5-mile track from inside the top 20, including two in the top 10. His best start came in 2002 when he qualified third.
Newman has three top-five finishes at Kansas, including a win in 2003. He finished second in his first two races at the Midwest track, but his last three have been from 23rd or lower.
Newman has led 118 laps in four Kansas races. He has completed 1,557 laps of a possible 1,602 since he made his Cup debut at Kansas in 2001. Newman has a completion rate of 97.2 percent at the Kansas track.
This weekend, the Alltel team will use PRS-071 as its primary car. This car last ran at California four weeks ago. Newman was running near the front when the car's engine expired, leaving him 39th at the finish. The backup car is PRS-108. It was last raced at Chicago in July where Newman qualified third and finished eighth.
Newman On Kansas: "We haven't had much luck in Kansas lately, but our intermediate program has been much better this year than it has been in the last couple of years. We're working hard to get a win for this team and for our sponsors before the year is over and I think the team has been doing a great job. We had great pit stops last weekend in Dover and had a good top-five run going, but things just didn't work out. Those things happen and now it's time to focus our efforts on Kansas."