It’s no secret that NASCAR driver Ryan Newman grew up in South Bend, Indiana.
But if you think that automatically makes Newman — who graduated from cross-state rival Purdue with a degree in mechanical engineering — a big fan of the hometown Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame, think again.
“For me, I never have, never will and never want to think about it as far as being an Irish fan,” Newman quipped during a press conference Sunday morning at Michigan International Speedway.
In other words, don’t expect Newman to break out into the first chorus of the Notre Dame fight song — “Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame, wake up the echoes cheering her name” — any time soon.”
Newman was joined in the press conference by Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio, who is grand marshal for today’s Quicken Loans 40 at MIS.
“I’m saying that I’m not a Michigan State fan, but I did go to Purdue and I have no alliances to them, either,” Newman added. “I’m a race car driver and that’s where I leave it.”
Dantonio admitted he was impressed with NASCAR’s “overall precision and complexity. It’s pretty monumental for me to see this today.”
To which Newman interjected some football parlance, “Today is a day for offense. We have to think offense for the coach here because everything we do is no-huddle, we don’t get timeouts, we don’t get to take a break. So that’s what he has to focus on, how to turn racing and no-huddle offense into what he can do to score (as grand marshal).”