BROOKLYN, MICH. - The worst secret in the NASCAR garage area became official Friday with the introduction of Ryan Newman as Tony Stewart's teammate in the new Stewart-Haas Racing venture.
The Indiana natives may seem different personality-wise and their public personas are nearly polar opposites. Stewart is the fiery and sometimes controversial spokesperson for the sport who opens his mouth more often than not before engaging his brain. Newman is more introspective and technical, characteristics one would expect from a Purdue University engineering major.
But deep down the duo is very much alike. Both grew up in the Hoosier state, dreaming about racing in the Indianapolis 500. They each worked their way up through the weekly short tracks of the Midwest before graduating to USAC competition in the midgets, sprints and Silver Crown divisions.
Stewart did make his way to Indy Car racing and the IRL, fulfilling his 500 dream, before heading south to try his hand at NASCAR. Newman skipped the Indy Car stop and went from USAC directly to stock car racing.
Each is a driven individual with a burning desire to win. Stewart was able to experience much of that with Joe Gibbs Racing including a couple of championships. Newman's tenure with Penske Racing had its moments, including a Daytona 500 victory.
However overall the pair felt they were missing something in their current situations and their paths came together in this new organization.
In addition to succeeding on track, winning races and hopefully titles, there was another goal mentioned in Friday's announcement here at Michigan.
"I told Tony, 'I'm here to have fun with you' and I know he wants to have fun doing this," said Newman.<!-- -->
"That is what racing hasn't been a lot of for me lately just because we had success in 2002, 2003 and part of '04 and, lately, it hasn’t been as successful.
"Therefore, some of the fun has been gone with that."
Winning will take care of having fun, no doubt about it.
The question is, how long will it take?