Only on 12: NASCAR driver surprises Augusta fan

March 15, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---NASCAR's Ryan Newman made a surprise visit to Augusta this afternoon.

"It just makes a great surprise to someone who is hopefully a NASCAR fan, and who will be even more a NASCAR fan, to be at the Alltel store to talk about getting to come to the racetrack...you know, people light up when they hear it," he told News 12 Sports.

We were there as Kevin Wilson of Belvedere got the surprise of a lifetime--Ryan Newman suddenly appearing beside him.

"Whoa!" Kevin cried, leaping backwards and doing a double take. "Ryan Newman!" The men shook hands as the crowd cheered and laughed. "Good God!" Kevin said...then he backed up, raised his arms, and bowed. "What in the world! Man, you got me."

A little later, Ryan asked Kevin, "Do you like Texas?"

"What?"

"You're going to the Texas race, that's why I asked you if you like Texas."

"I am?"

He is. He's going to the April Texas race.

"No way!"

"It's for real," Ryan said. "I didn't come here just to see you, I came here to invite you to the racetrack."

Making the day even better for Kevin, today is his wife's birthday. Ryan called her and told her the good news.

"This is Ryan Newman," he said. "I'm here with your husband. He told me to call you and wish you a happy birthday because it's your birthday, but I think he's got a better present for you than what you'll ever imagine."

When Kevin finally took the phone, "It's Ryan Newman!" he shouted immediately. "Yes!" After his wife apparently asked him how he was doing, he said unabashedly, "I'm shaking like a leaf on a tree."

Not only does Kevin get to go to the race, but his name will be on the car. Pretty cool.


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