Ryan Newman is in the spotlight after a strong fourth-place showing in this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, but Wednesday he found himself upstaged by a lumbering, lovable Great Dane named Bodhi.
Newman was in town visiting the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA as part of a media promotion for the upcoming Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. He was greeted in the parking lot on arrival by the 20-month old, 165-pound Bodhi, who seldom left his side for the next 90 minutes and even visited with Newman at the track later in the day.
The visit to the SPCA was second nature to Newman. He and his wife Krissie share a love of animals and formed the Ryan Newman Foundation several years ago to help educate and encourage people to spay and neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters. The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA has helped the Ryan Newman Foundation in the rescue of animals.
"They have a great facility, run by great people," Newman said of the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA. "I got to see a great skit, their Paw and Pet Show. It was really fun, educational, cool and amazing for them to put together something like that."
While much of the day was spent with animals, and talking about animals, Newman did manage to talk some racing, especially racing at Martinsville Speedway and the upcoming Goody's Fast Relief 500 on April 1.
Newman has come oh-so-close to winning at Martinsville, but has never visited victory lane at the historic half-mile oval. In last spring's Goody's Fast Relief 500 he looked to be on the verge of breaking through, running fourth on lap 327 when a header pipe broke and cost him two laps in the pits for repairs. He wound up 20th after starting second.
"You have to survive here, that's the hardest part," said Newman, whose Chevrolet will be sponsored by Outback Steakhouse in the Goody's Fast Relief 500. "You can show up and be ready to go to war, but if you are the first person to get bombed, it's over for you." Martinsville Speedway will be kicking off its 65th season of racing with the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend on March 30-April 1.
Great ticket packages and seats are on sale for the entire weekend and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.