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April 19, 2023

‘Rocket Man,’ Ryan Newman lands on NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list

From NASCAR’s Whelen Modified Series to the Cup Series and everything in between, Ryan Newman has won in nearly everything he’s raced in, and it’s fitting the he was selected to join the ranks of the sport’s 75 Greatest Drivers.

Newman set an electrifying pace during his career, earning 64 pole awards, 51 of which came in the Cup Series, across the three national series. His premier-series prowess in qualifying earned him the nickname, ‘Rocket Man,’ and Newman is ninth all-time in Cup poles — trailing only Richard Petty, David Pearson, Jeff Gordon, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Mark Martin and Bill Elliott.

WATCH: See each of Newman’s 51 pole-winning laps

A true iron man of the sport, Newman made 36 starts per season for 18 consecutive seasons, only breaking his streak after a sidelining crash in the 2020 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. During his lengthy tenure, his most productive season at the Cup Series level came in 2003, where he earned the pole position 11 times and went on to win eight races.

Across his 725 career starts, Newman scored 18 victories, 117 top-five finishes, 268 top 10s and ran over 200,000 laps, leading 4,863 of them. His biggest victories came in the 2002 All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning the famous ‘Winston Million’ and the 2008 Daytona 500.

The ‘Rocket Man’ footprint also extends to the Xfinity Series, where he is a seven-time winner, the Craftsman Truck Series, the ARCA Menards Series and many more.

NASCAR 75: Updated 75 Greatest Drivers list | View historical timeline

Though his last Cup Series start came at the end of the 2021 season, Newman remains active at the grassroots racing level.