This Father's Day weekend, Ryan Newman will honor the 236th birthday of his co-primary sponsor, the U.S. Army, and Bud Moore, a World War II hero who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last month for his work as a car owner.
When the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy competes in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, it will carry a "236 Years Strong" decal on the hood with a photo of Bud Moore and a decal commemorating his Hall of Fame induction on each side of the car.
During NASCAR's weekly teleconference Wednesday, Newman noted his car's paint scheme—along with coming to the track as a child and becoming a father to daughter Brooklyn last November—would make this weekend's race a special one.
"(It's) just kind of like coming home for me," Newman said. "Mix in having the U.S. Army on the race car, 236 years strong, the cool factor of having Bud Moore on the race car and the decorated veteran that he was and is, just being Father's Day, first time for me having my dad there and coming back home, I look forward to it."
Newman admitted that most of his knowledge regarding Moore came from a recent television special about his life, never meeting him until a couple of weeks ago.
"(I was) honored to meet him, especially after watching his biography on TV talking about how he was involved with the war and how influential he was and the command he was with," Newman said.
"The other part of it is the NASCAR side of things, and you know, what he's done for our sport, the innovations he's made, the things he's accomplished, and mixing those two things together, that's why it's an honor for me to represent him."
After Newman was asked about his favorite off-track activities, he was quick to note that all of them were related to the U.S. Army, including his work with the Walter Reed Medical Center.
"(The Walter Reed Medical Center) visits are bittersweet, but they are special," Newman said. "Things like that have taught me so much more about what the U.S. Army does and is and has been doing that I didn't realize in years past."
Newman said that he sometimes struggles with visiting soldiers at Walter Reed, realizing that some of those who were injured while serving for their country will never be able to do so again.
"Well, you have to have a strong stomach and sometimes you have to have an even stronger brain, because they are going through some serious life changes in their life and the amazing thing is all those soldiers, at Walter Reed especially, they want to get back in battle," Newman said.
"They want to go back with their command and friends and be part of their team. They want to go back to battle and they want to win.
"It’s tough at times. Sometimes you go in and you see somebody have a reaction to you, and it’s like magic and you can just talk about anything. You can talk about sports, the weather, their trip, what happened to them, the things they have been through. And some people, they don’t want to talk about it. You just have to read the character and make the best of the first impression that you can."
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