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Behind the Wheel: Newman focused on fatherhood, Chase

June 21, 2012, Ryan Newman, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com



Behind the Wheel: Newman focused on fatherhood, Chase

I hope all the dads out there had a good Father's Day Sunday.

For me, it was really special to have both Brooklyn and my own dad at the track on Father's Day.

Since we've had Brooklyn, one of the most popular questions I get is how being a dad has changed me as a race car driver. And the answer is, it really hasn't changed me behind the wheel.

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To me, it's really only changed my responsibilities away from the race car, actually. It doesn't change my responsibilities in the race car or to the race team, or to my owners or whatever. With respect to those things, it's all the same.

What I do when I get back to the bus and what I do at the house -- my responsibilities I have (making bottles, changing dippers, emptying diaper genies, you name it) -- that is different, no doubt. But, all in all, I'm still the same.

I will tell you, there's nothing like seeing Brooklyn after a race, though. Good day, bad day, whatever -- she makes it better. I'm very lucky to have my daughter, and my wife Krissie and I are looking forward to our next little girl, who will be making her entrance into the world here in a few weeks.

And to answer the next question -- we don't have a name, yet. We're working on it, though.

The other thing being a dad does is it makes you think a little more about things that probably never crossed your mind before. For instance, this weekend, my sponsor Quicken Loans has teamed up with Children's Tumor Foundation to bring attention to Neurofibromatosis, or NF, and the need to find a cure for this disorder.

Since the Children's Tumor Foundation is on the hood of our car, I have learned a little about NF. The disease is a common, yet under-recognized genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. It affects 1 in 3,000 children.

As a dad to Brooklyn, and with another baby on the way, learning statistics like that really makes you think about how precious it is to have good health. Even with all the medical advances out there, there are still things like NF that don't have a cure.

But we can make a difference. So, this weekend, we will carry a Web site address -- www.fuelthecure.org -- where fans can make donations to help the Children's Tumor Foundation. As cliché as it sounds, every cent helps.

So, hopefully, this week at Sonoma we can raise awareness and money for a very worthy charity. And it would be nice to get the No. 39 back out front.

We're still in contention for the Chase, and I'm confident this team will make it. But, with 10 races to go, it's definitely important that we get back on track and headed in the right direction. We need to get some more top-10s, top-fives and another win would be nice, too. We'd like to get back into the top 10 in points and not have to rely on a wild card spot.

Behind the Wheel with Ryan Newman runs twice a month on NASCAR.COM as he shares his experiences throughout the season, both at and away from the track. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanNewman39 and online at www.ryannewman.org and www.ryannewmanfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are solely those of Newman.