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Defending Daytona 500 Champion Ryan Newman To Say 'Let's Play Hockey' And Sign Autographs

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA BAY – Ryan Newman, 2008 Daytona 500 Champion, will be on hand at the St. Pete Times Forum Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m. (Sun Sports, 620 WDAE).  He will say “Let’s Play Hockey” prior to the game and will also sign autographs on the concourse behind section 112 from 6-6:30 p.m.

Representatives from the Daytona International Speedway will be on the Chrysler-Jeep Plaza prior to the game.  Fans visiting their booth can take photos with the Daytona Show Car and enter to win two tickets to the 2009 Daytona 500, which will kick into full gear on Sunday, February 15, 2008.

Newman, driving for Penske Racing at the time, won the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008 by passing Tony Stewart on the last lap.  Newman will try to join Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Sterling Marlin as a back-to-back Daytona 500 winner in the upcoming 51st annual Daytona 500 and will do so with a new team.  Newman will defend his Daytona 500 victory driving the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet for the person that he passed to win the Daytona 500 – Stewart.

In driving for Stewart-Haas Racing (formerly known as Haas CNC Racing), Newman will become the first Daytona 500 champion since 1981 to drive for a different team after winning the Daytona 500 the previous year. In 1980, Buddy Baker won the fastest Daytona 500 in history with owner Harry Ranier and returned the following year to defend his victory with owner Hoss Ellington’s No. 1 Oldsmobile. He finished fourth.

In 2008, in addition to becoming the Daytona 500 champion, Newman also captured his 43rd career pole at Phoenix International Raceway.  The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit also found Newman finishing 2nd at both the Auto Club 500 and the UAW-Dodge 400.  He also finished 4th at the Kobalt Tools 500.

Newman has been racing professionally since 1994 when he first competed at age 16 in the National Midgets division of the United States Auto Club.   

For more on Ryan Newman visit For more on the Daytona 500 visit and

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