NASCAR Q&A: Roush evolution continues with RFK Racing; and let's talk Ryan Newman

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  • Ryan Newman
    Ryan Newman
    American racecar driver

What’s in a name?

Ah, an age-old question, dating back to ol’ Billy Shakespeare’s lesson about a rose by any other name. Sure, Shakespeare was right to say a rose would smell fine regardless of its label, but he did his scribbling centuries before the importance of branding became so apparent.

Several years back, when Roush Racing took on a partner and became Roush Fenway Racing, it sounded a bit clunky but over time everyone adjusted (many of us kept calling it “Jack’s team”).

Brad Keselowski and Jack Roush alongside the newly branded No. 6 Ford.
Brad Keselowski and Jack Roush alongside the newly branded No. 6 Ford.

But another partner — Brad Keselowski — has come along, and the marketing team threw in the towel before the ink dried. No way “Roush Fenway Keselowski” will fit on a T-shirt, much less an officially licensed cap. So just like that, “RFK Racing” is now a thing.

I doubt Bobby Kennedy was much of a NASCAR fan, but here’s hoping he’d be flattered — and also hoping there are no trademark issues.

Is it time to assess Ryan Newman’s career?

It seems to be time, but it also seems to be difficult. If he’d retired at 25 we might’ve put him on a stamp. At 21, he became USAC’s first-ever triple crown winner (1999 champ in Silver Crown, midgets and sprints) before moving to bigger cars and quickly climbing the NASCAR ladder.

In 2003, his second full-time Cup season, he won eight races and 11 poles as he earned the “Flyin’ Ryan” label. After that breakout performance, he sprinkled in just nine more wins over the next 18 seasons.

Overall, a very unique career trajectory. The closest modern comparison would be Kasey Kahne, who, by the way, this year began racing full-time in the World of Outlaws. With Newman out of a NASCAR ride, don’t be shocked to see him turn up on the dirt somewhere.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: RFK Racing? At least it'll fit on a hat | NASCAR Q&A