CONCORD, N.C. â€” Jordan Anderson couldnâ€˜t pass up the opportunity to allow his hero to run the race truck he owns in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Jordan Anderson Racing announced Tuesday that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman will drive the teamâ€˜s No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado at half-mile Eldora Speedway.
Anderson, accompanied by Newman, made the announcement during the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course test, unveiling the paint scheme the Daytona 500 champion will run in the Eldora Dirt Derby on Wednesday, July 18 (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
â€œFor Ryan to be a part of this, it not only brings his wealth of knowledge to the table, but his experience, his credibility and everything he has done in this sport,â€� Anderson said following the official announcement. â€œOn top of that, heâ€˜s the guy that I looked up to as a kid. We first met out here (Charlotte Motor Speedway) in 2001. I ran a bandelero out here on pole night and he was running the Alltel car. It seems like yesterday, but it was a long time ago.
â€œItâ€˜s cool to have things come full circle for a guy that I looked up to and really tried to emulate my racing career after his where I went to college and did everything.â€�
Newman said running the NASCAR Camping World Truck Seriesâ€˜ only event on dirt just seemed like the right fit.
â€œIt just made sense for us to do it,â€� Newman said. â€œItâ€˜s a great opportunity for him. Itâ€˜s a great opportunity for me, for VRX eSports, for Chevrolet. It all lines up. Itâ€˜s important for us to have the right partners to go up there and have some fun.â€�
Newman has competed in the Eldora event once before, finishing third in the inaugural race in 2013.
â€œItâ€˜s going back home. Itâ€˜s going back dirt racing,â€� he added. â€œI enjoy all of that. I have a lot of friends and family up in that area. But ultimately, itâ€˜s just a good experience. Itâ€˜s a lot of fun. Iâ€˜m glad NASCAR has put a truck race on the dirt.â€�
According to Anderson, there was also one catch to Newman agreeing to the offer.
â€œI think the coolest thing is when Ryan and I made the deal, he said thereâ€˜s one thing that you have to make sure you let me do â€” I want to come to the shop and work on the race truck,â€� Anderson said. â€œHe said Iâ€˜m not going to do the deal unless you let me do that. He said I want to be hands on and get the set up dialed in. So, to have him in the shop with us doing that stuff has been really cool.â€�
Although Anderson will drop the driver role to focus on the owner side of the business for one race, he is very appreciative that Newman wanted to partner up with a smaller team at Eldora to have more of an input into the truckâ€˜s setup.
â€œI was a little nervous at first, but heâ€˜s a super laid-back guy and super smart,â€� Anderson added. â€œHe knows a lot more than I could have ever imagined. To have him helping us out and wrenching on the truck is really cool.â€�
After an engine issue forced Anderson out of the event on Lap 5 in 2016, he was looking forward to giving it another shot. But the deal with Newman was just too good to pass up from many perspectives.
â€œI definitely wanted some redemption there,â€� said Anderson. â€œBut when Ryan and I started talking and thinking about not only what this meant for me as an owner, but for Jordan Anderson Racing as a team, for the guys that work for me, for the sponsors that help us grow this team â€” the health of this team and how well it does is good for everybody.
â€œThe fact that everything came together the way it did and the pieces came together with a guy like Ryan, with his history and is place in the sport and the kind of driver and person he is, is really special.â€�