“The home of the free, because of the brave.”
Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Quicken Loans/U.S. Army Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) carries that poignant phrase this weekend to honor those who have served and protected our nation as we celebrate Veteran’s Day.
Recognizing the service of our country’s military veterans is something that has become especially significant for Newman, who took the wheel of the U.S. Army Chevy upon joining SHR in 2009. This year, Newman also joined forces with Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender and a company committed to helping veterans who have so bravely served our country.
So there’s a natural correlation on display this weekend between Newman, the U.S. Army and Quicken Loans for Sunday’s AdvoCare 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. A desert camouflage scheme adorns Newman’s No. 39 Quicken Loans/U.S. Army Chevy, and on it are more than 250 black-and-white photographs of active and retired military members who have done business with Quicken Loans.
Quicken Loans is committed to helping our veterans meet their home financing needs. Each month, the Detroit-based company helps thousands of active and retired military members with their mortgages. In fact, over the last two years, the company has helped nearly 50,000 military families with their mortgages. For Quicken Loans, working with veterans is just one way to thank them for their service.
As a U.S. Army-sponsored driver, Newman has come to understand now, more than ever, that he is able to do the job he loves and have the freedoms we all cherish thanks to the men and women who serve and protect our country. As he has visited military bases across the country and has had the privilege of meeting Army Strong Soldiers and other servicemen and women at the racetrack, he makes every effort to shake the hands of Soldiers and thank them for all they have done for our country. After all, the Army is the strength of the Nation, and the Soldiers are the strength of our Army. The Army and NASCAR partnership provides Americans a platform to experience the power, speed, teamwork and technology that drives that strength.
This Veteran’s Day weekend, Newman would like nothing more than to give those who have served and protected our country through the years a ride to remember with a trip to victory lane at the mile oval nestled in the Arizona desert.
There’s been no better track for the South Bend, Ind., native the past two seasons than Phoenix. In his last five starts there, Newman has four top-five finishes – a win (April 2010), a runner-up finish (November 2010) and two fifth-place efforts (February and November 2011). His only finish outside the top-five came earlier this season when Newman was involved in an accident while running fifth. He finished 21st.
While Phoenix has been a strong racetrack for Newman in recent years, it’s also been a special racetrack in his career as it was the site of his Sprint Cup Series debut. On that November weekend in 2000, Newman wasted no time showing the series regulars his penchant for turning a quick lap as he qualified 10th in the No. 02 Penske Racing entry in his maiden effort, which was led by crew chief Matt Borland. Newman went on to be competitive during the race, too, although the final results show a 41st-place finish due to an engine failure.
Then, in 2010, Phoenix was the site of another big first for Newman – his first victory with SHR.
In 20 Sprint Cup starts at Phoenix, Newman has four poles, the April 2010 win, seven top-five finishes and seven top-10s.
This weekend, Newman and Borland will return to the site of their first-ever race together for their third event since being reunited at SHR. The duo hopes to continue building momentum and experience together while also improving upon their impressive 11th- and 12th-place finishes at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, respectively.
As Newman & Company enters the penultimate race of the 2012 Sprint Cup season, there are two primary items on the agenda – to continue to build on the on-track success for the No. 39 team with a trip to victory lane and, most importantly, to honor and thank the millions of veterans whose sacrifice and service allow all of us the freedom to pursue our individual dreams.