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Away from the track, NASCAR driver Ryan Newman Goes to the Dogs

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and his wife, Krissie, visit nation's largest companion animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, prior to Las Vegas Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, who will be driving in the Las Vegas Kobalt Tools 400

Sunday, March 11, has a soft spot in his heart for animals. Along with his wife, Krissie, and their little girl Brooklyn, the Newmans paid a special visit to Best Friends Animal Society's sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, the nation's largest refuge for abused and abandoned animals.

The Newmans, who are interested in dog rescue and shelter adoptions, visited Best Friends as part of a future television feature story about NASCAR drivers and their off-the-track activities during race season. (In 2005 they founded the Ryan Newman Foundation: its mission includes educating and encouraging people to spay/neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters.)

Krissie Newman said she was impressed to see all of the work that Best Friends does for the animals. "It was an education experience for us, for what we are trying to do with our Rescue Ranch in North Carolina. Hopefully we can take some of the (Best Friends) practices back east with us."

Ryan and Krissie signed autographs for local NASCAR fans, Best Friends employees and volunteers. They toured the sanctuary animal care areas. They played soccer with a horse, took a cat on a leashed walk and doted on a puppy.

But the highlight of the tour had to be the impromptu "golf cart drag race." At the sanctuary, golf carts are used in the day-to-day work of caring for the canine residents in the sprawling "Dogtown Heights." One of the caregivers challenged Ryan Newman to a race and Newman accepted the challenge with good humor. The two-person, onedog race teams zoomed through a couple laps on the road circling several of the dog buildings. It was neck and neck but Newman pulled ahead for the win in the end.

On a more serious note, Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society said, "Having a popular American sports personality here at the sanctuary is indeed very special. And it points to a far more gratifying development. It means that reaching the vast general public - perhaps the biggest challenge of all in promoting our message of No More Homeless Pets - is not only possible, it's becoming more of a reality every day. The concept of adopting an animal from the local shelter, thanks to the ongoing support of mainstream athletes like Ryan, is no longer a novel concept but is now a mainstream idea with pet owners throughout the United States."

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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