Ryan Newman honors friend and mentor Buddy Baker at MIS
While Ryan Newman will be focused on the task at hand Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, he will have a special person riding along the passenger side of his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
As the NASCAR community continues to remember NASCAR legend Buddy Baker this weekend, his friend and former protege Ryan Newman took the honor to another level.
While each car is running a commemorative sticker for Baker, who passed away Aug. 10 of lung cancer, Newman is running his friend’s name above the right-side window of his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
The friendship with Baker began when Newman first broke into stock car racing in the ARCA Racing Series with Team Penske. Baker was brought in to work with the young driver to help hone his skills both on and off the track.
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"It started out he was a paid Penske employee and it turned into a friendship," Newman said Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. "I’m very grateful for all of the things he taught me — what to do and what not to do.
"Obviously, saddened of his loss, but in the end I figure the best thing I can do to say thank you was to put his name on the passenger side and know that he was riding with me this weekend," he said.