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Newman's #12 Inducted into Daytona 500 Experience

NASCAR
Monday, February 18, 2008

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After one of the most competitive and exciting Daytona 500s in event history, Ryan Newman had his winning 50th running of the Daytona 500 car – the No. 12 Alltel Dodge – inducted into Daytona 500 Experience on Monday morning.

Roger Penske and Ryan Newman sign for the fans, another reason why NASCAR is so popular - Driver Accessibility.

Photo Credit - Daytona International Speedway

Newman, owner Roger Penske and crew chief Roy McCauley inducted their winning race machine into Daytona 500 Experience as part of the Banquet Brown ’N Serve Champions Breakfast – a day after 42 lead changes and 16 different leaders made for one of the most exciting Daytona 500s in event history.

The trio participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. In addition, Gatorade presented the 2008 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from Gatorade Victory Lane.

Newman also autographed artist David Arrigo’s DIRECTV Speedweeks mural hood painting and the entire No. 12 team including Newman had already signed winning No. 12 car the night before.

“It’s sinking in,” Newman said. “It takes time. It’s huge. It’s the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and it’s just an honor to be up here with (owner) Roger Penske and (crew chief) Roy McCauley and all these guys over here in the blue shirts. I kind of want them to go back to work pretty soon.

“It’s just an honor to be here. It was a great race last night. I have to thank Kurt Busch for the great push, great teammate, great team effort, great organization run by Roger Penske that enabled us to get the alltel Dodge into Victory Lane.”

Newman's Dodge sits for a year at the Daytona Experience.

Photo Credit - Daytona International Speedway

The 50th running of the Daytona 500 will go down as one of the most memorable in history with 42 lead changes among 16 drivers. The 16 different leaders were the second-highest total in the history of “The Great American Race" (record is 2006, 18 leaders).

The 42 lead changes at the start/finish line were the most since 2001 (49) and their 81 green flag passes for the lead on the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval is the second-most at DIS since 2005 when the gathering of Loop Data began.

During his question and answer session with the media on Monday, Newman, who pocketed a winner’s check of $1,506,045, reflected on his early memories of visiting Daytona International Speedway with his family.

Newman, a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in engineering, usually sat in the Segrave Grandstands and admitted that he used counterfeit credentials.

“There were times where we might have bought some construction paper a time or two,” Newman said. “There were a couple of times where I had some friends in the garage that might have given me a crew shirt. But, I don’t recall those times. You do what you’ve got to do to get in man. You have to create your own opportunities sometimes.

“We always had tickets. But that isn’t always where you want to be – you want to be in the garage area – and when you’re a driver, you want to be amongst other drivers.”

Newman left Daytona International Speedway on Monday afternoon to kick off a week-long whirlwind media tour in New York City and California with scheduled appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and Live with Regis and Kelly.

“I’ve watch some Letterman and I know he’s a Hoosier and I know he’s very quick-witted and all of those things so I’ll try to give him a run for his money,” Newman said.

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