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Minter: Newman Won’t Ride Alone At Atlanta

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, August 17 2011

Ryan Newman will pay tribute to a dear friend of many when he drives in the Camping World Truck race in Atlanta next month. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Sharon Ellman). (RacinToday/HHP photo by Sharon Ellman)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinTodayt.com

There aren’t many days that go by lately that the late Beau Slocumb doesn’t come to mind. And most times those thoughts also include Ryan Newman, who was a great friend to Slocumb, in the good times and bad, all the way to the end.

I followed Slocumb’s career as he advanced through the Legends ranks, to Late Models and on to ARCA. All told he won 131 races in his brief career.

He wasn’t the kind that would hound you for publicity, but he never missed a chance to chat. When he did get a mention in a story, he was quick to acknowledge it. Even though reporters are supposed to keep some distance between themselves and the people they write about, it was difficult to not be friends with Beau Slocumb.

Ryan Newman first got to know Slocumb because the Slocumbs had a fishing hole that Newman could frequent when he was in town for the races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Although he’d never seen Slocumb race, Newman began helping Slocumb with his career. Newman was the headliner at a fund-raiser for Slocumb to generate money for an ARCA ride, and Slocumb had moved in with the Newmans when he found out he had the cancer that finally claimed him back in the spring.

Slocumb beat back the cancer initially and returned to racing, but the cancer came back.

When it did, Newman’s efforts on Slocumb’s behalf shifted from helping him advance his racing career to helping him stay alive. And he and his wife Krissie did it quietly and privately. Perhaps no one outside the Slocumb and Newman families will ever know the extent of Newman’s help.

But his latest gesture is more public. When the Camping World Truck Series runs at Atlanta on Sept. 2, Newman will be behind the wheel of a truck bearing Slocumb’s familiar No. 08 and its outdoorsy paint scheme. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Short tracker Bubba Pollard has done the same thing on the short tracks of the Southeast, and others including Max Gresham, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series winner at New Hampshire, have honored Slocumb’s memory with their race cars.

Newman’s ride at Atlanta will be fielded by Turner Motorsports, one of Slocumb’s employers, and all money received by the team from the event will be donated to Slocumb’s widow to assist with medical expenses.

“I look forward to driving the race that my good friend Beau Slocumb always dreamed of,” Newman said. “This is his ride; I just wish he were here to drive it. This is for his family and for the dream he always wished would come true. Beau ran a camo car and it will be great to honor him with a Realtree paint scheme and the Chevy truck. Thank you Turner Motorsports, Team Realtree, Brandt, and Chevrolet for giving us this opportunity.”

From the notes already out there on Facebook and other places, Slocumb’s friends are in agreement that Newman deserves a big “Thank You” too.

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, August 17 2011
3 Comments

3 Comments »

  • Jeanne Slocumb says:

    Thank you, Rick, for another beautiful article about Beau. It means more to Buster and me, and the rest of our family than you will ever know. We are so grateful to the Turner and Newman families for all they have done for Beau and Jessica. We are so humbled and thankful that they have chosen to honor Beau this way at the track he loved.

    Blessings to you,

    Jeanne Slocumb

  • Rick says:

    Great job Ryan! So sorry on losing Beau. Too many NASCAR drivers incredible generosity goes unrecognized in the mainstream media.

  • scorer27 says:

    Beau was a great guy and a heck of racer! I had the pleasure of working around him a good bit on the short tracks around the south. He always had a smile & he was always a gentleman. He never gave you any static about anything.

    One night when I was working an event he made a mistake on a restart that cost him the race due to a penalty. After the race he talked to us about what happened and even though he wasn’t happy with the outcome he was never abusive and there wasn’t any ranting and raving. He was as gracious in defeat as he was in victory.

    He was absolutely amazing to watch at Cordele’s Watermelon Capital Speedway. Watching him pass cars on the outside at that little bullring was truly fun to watch.

    Thanks to Ryan Newman for acknowledging Beau’s abilities as a racer but more importantly what a quality young man he was.

    We miss you Beau. 08