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Behind the Wheel: Newman thankful for our veterans

November 11, 2012, Ryan Newman, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Newman doing just that with special paint scheme in honor of Veterans Day

"Home of the free, BECAUSE of the Brave."

It's a pretty cool message that my sponsor Quicken Loans added to the back of the No. 39 Chevrolet this weekend at Phoenix. It's all part of a very special paint scheme I have on my car for Veterans Day, and I have to tell you -- it looks pretty darn cool, too.

I guess you could say the car was the brainchild of the sponsor. They wanted to do something special this weekend to show how committed they are to helping our veterans. Each month they help thousands of active and retired military members with their mortgages.

"Soldiers allow us to do what we love -- they give me the chance to race in NASCAR."


So, they came up with the idea of giving the car the desert camouflage look, since the Veterans Day race is held right in the middle of the Arizona desert. There are also more than 250 black-and-white photos of active and retired military members who have gotten loans through Quicken Loans.

I'm really proud to have Quicken Loans on the race car, as well as the company's support of the U.S. Army soldiers and all military. My car shows there is a real correlation between the military and Quicken Loans and the appreciation for our freedom.

To me, one of the really cool things about that is I will have the chance to meet at least one of the people featured on the race car this weekend. He's a local veteran, and he's actually going to be at the track as a guest of Quicken Loans this weekend. I'm looking forward to meeting him, seeing his photo on the car and thanking him for his service.

After all, that's what this weekend is all about -- to pay tribute and to thank all of the retired and active military members. Soldiers allow us to do what we love -- they give me the chance to race in NASCAR -- and for all of us to have the freedom that we have.

For me, since my association with the U.S. Army started back in 2009, I think Veterans Day has gotten an added meaning. It's a day to be thankful and to give thanks to the men and women who have done so much to give us the freedoms we have.

* Video: Watch as Newman's car is transformed into a Veterans Day tribute

A lot of us -- myself included -- take for granted the freedoms we have. Just putting into understanding the sacrifices our soldiers make and what they've done for hundreds of years to make sure we're able to keep these freedoms and live in the safe country we do.

This weekend, I hope everyone takes a moment to thank a soldier and to just be thankful for the things they have done to give us the free country we have.

I can think of no better way to thank the more than 1 million soldiers I represent and make them proud than by getting my Quicken Loans/U.S. Army Chevy into Victory Lane. That would also be special for me since next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be our last weekend with U.S. Army on the car. I would definitely like to end our partnership and the season on a high note.

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 and The opinions expressed are solely those of Newman.