Ryan Newman is more renowned as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, but his Camping World Truck Series stats are nothing to scoff at: seven starts, top-five finishes in six, and a win in his début. When the Trucks visit the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track, Newman hopes to add a second victory. On Wednesday, Newman confirmed he will drive the #39 Ford F-150 for DCC Racing in the 27 March Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race. It will be his first Truck race in three years and the team’s maiden foray.
While the Truck Series is the third rung of the NASCAR ladder, Newman would not race in it until 2008, eight years after first appearing in the Cup Series, and winning in his début at Atlanta. He would mke sporadic appearances over the years, notching top fives and even a pole in every start for Kevin Harvick Incorporated and Turner Scott Motorsports in 2009 and 2011.
“I definitely want to learn for the Cup race on the Cup weekend, no doubt, but we wouldn’t go there without the mindset of winning and focusing on that,” Newman said in his press conference on Wednesday while testing a Modified car at Martinsville. “I’m really proud to announce that Coca-Cola and Aggressive Hydraulics, both been long-term sponsors of mine, are on board the truck. It is a Ford. The number is 39, so it’s kind of a retro throwback for me personally. It’s [Means’] first go-around in ownership and the dirt race at Bristol has a lot of opportunity, at least in my eyes and obviously his to have some experience and start what potentially could be something bigger for him. I have met Brad several years ago when he worked at RCR and kept in contact and our goals aligned and we have the opportunity with Aggressive Hydraulics and Coke to go out there and get some laps and have fun and the end goal is no different than any other weekend. It’s to win.”
In 2013, when the series began racing at Eldora Speedway in the first dirt event for NASCAR since 1970, Newman finished third for TSM. Another one-off start came in 2015 at Kansas for what is now NEMCO Motorsports, where he finished second. His top five streak ended in the 2018 Eldora Dirt Derby when he was involved in a second-stage accident and finished thirtieth. The start came in a truck owned by Jordan Anderson Racing.
A new face in the Truck Series, DCC Racing is owned by Brad Means, the son of Xfinity Series team owner Jimmy Means. Newman’s entry was first revealed in the 16 March episode of The Dale Jr. Download when the show’s host and namesake Dale Earnhardt Jr. was talking about the Bristol dirt weekend.
#39 holds personal significance for Newman, who used it during his quarter midget days. From 2009 to 2013, his Cup car with Stewart-Haas Racing also utilised #39, and he would take the number to Victory Lane on four occasions.
“There’s cool things like that happening where these drivers are trying to jampack in some dirt experience,” Earnhardt said while discussing Cup drivers like Martin Truex Jr. running both series’ events. “One guy that really doesn’t need it but I think he could be under the radar for a lot of fantasy team owners in the Cup race is Ryan Newman. The guy has a pretty good mind of dirt track experience in his history, but he’s teaming up with a very good friend of mine: Brad Means, Jimmy Means’ son.
“I’m a big Jimmy Means fan, me and Brad grew up together. Brad’s got a truck now, DCC Racing, I guess is the name of this team. Him and Ryan Newman are gonna pair up. […] This will be my friend Brad’s first effort in owning. His dad’s been a longtime car owner, been a fixture in the sport for decades, and this will be Brad’s first real effort behind owning a car or truck in the series. Interesting to see how that goes if you want to pull for an underdog or a new team.”
Despite the family connection, DCC Racing will not have ties to Jimmy Means Racing. Newman added DCC’s crew will “be a group of guys, I’m sure, that meet the criteria for a team, but I’m sure they’re just a group of guys that he’s put together and I think in the grand scheme of things it’s no different than what we’re doing here for the modified race. It’s a group of guys that have experience in either a garage, a Cup garage, Xfinity garage, or a Truck garage and you trust those people and you work hard together. That’s how you build something and I know Brad is working on building something.”
Newman is one of six announced drivers who will race in both the Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race and the Cup Series’ Food City Dirt Race the next day: Truex, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe are also Cup regulars, while Mike Marlar and Stewart Friesen are making their Cup débuts.