Newman is a former NASCAR Rookie of the Year and has won 13 career races, the biggest coming at the 2008 Daytona 500. The Ruiz family's decision to sponsor his stock car is the latest move in a national trend of smaller business taking calculated risks in a tough economy.
"It's a new entire situation for them and their family," Newman said. "I know they're going out on a limb to try to grow their company and I appreciate that. And I'll do my best to represent them."
With less and less major corporate sponsorships at drivers' disposal, Newman said today's NASCAR teams have more off-track distractions than ever before.
"That's one of the toughest things: Making everybody happy," said Newman. "When you introduce additional sponsors or additional people, everybody wants to have their fair share. I drove the Alltel car for years so it was just the Alltel car. I mean I had Mobil and Kodak and some other team, but it was never on this big a scale. We're talking about nine races. That's a quarter of the season for us."
And for Ruiz Foods, hopefully that includes at least one trip down victory lane in the Tornado car.