For the last two decades, Ryan Newman's name has been a year-to-year constant within the NASCAR Cup Series garage. But after losing his ride at RFK Racing at the end of the 2021 season and turning 44 in December, it seems that Newman will spend his 2022 season of racing out of the spotlight and away from the highest level of NASCAR that he has inhabited for 20 years.
Speaking to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday, Newman shared that he does not have any type of NASCAR ride for 2022 and that he plans to race at the grassroots level. Without the option of driving a car capable of contending in NASCAR, Newman stated that his options now are to race "just for fun."
Newman's comments came as he competed in this week's Chili Bowl Nationals for midget sprint cars, an event which also includes other NASCAR stars such as Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell and more.
"Definitely interested in continuing to race," Newman said, per Dustin Long of NBC Sports. "That's why there was no retirement party. There were no retirement plans. There was no 'Ryan's last ride' or anything like that because that wasn't the intention."
Newman had previously expressed uncertainty about his future in NASCAR at last year's season finale, as he stated he was unsure if it would be his last start in NASCAR while also expressing his reservations about the safety of the Next Gen car. Newman has 18 career wins in the Cup Series -- including the 2008 Daytona 500 -- but had not won since Phoenix in March of 2017 and finished a career-low 28th in points in 2021.
In his mid-40s and looking at not racing in NASCAR full-time for the first time since 2002, Newman shared that he wanted to enjoy the opportunity he had to spend time with his family.
"I feel like I've been so blessed in so many ways -- my daughters, my racing career, having dreams come true," Newman said.
Should Newman not race in the Cup Series again, he would finish his career with 18 victories, 117 Top 5s, 268 Top 10s and 51 poles. Newman won Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 over future seven-time Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, and won two crown-jewel races in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.