TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2009) – The four most famous words in racing are “Drivers, start your engines.”
On Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, Ryan Newman, 2008 Daytona 500 champion, delivered three famous words for hockey fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning – “Let’s Play Hockey.”
Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, kicked off the Tampa Bay Lightning-Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League game with the traditional command. The Lightning ended up defeating the Flyers 4-1.
In addition to his command, Newman, who wore a No. 39 Lightning third jersey sweater, participated in an autograph session, was interviewed by Sun Sports during the first intermission and watched the game from the owner’s box.
Newman will defend his Daytona 500 victory in the 51st annual “Great American Race” on Sunday, Feb. 15.
In the 51st annual Daytona 500, Newman will try to join Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Sterling Marlin as a back-to-back Daytona 500 winners. He will drive the No. 39 Chevrolet for the person that he passed to win the 2008 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.
Tickets for DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 and the 51st annual Daytona 500 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.