NASCAR Driver Ryan Newman Has Adopted An Elk Named After Guitarist Doc Watson

A man standing next to a deer
Courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A lot of times when people retire they talk about wanting to spend more time with their family, travel, or get some new pets.

Well NASCAR driver Ryan Newman has himself quite the pet now that he’s no longer racing.

Newman, an 18-time winner in the Cup Series who has been out of the sport since last year, has adopted an elk from Grandfather Mountain, a nature preserve in northwest North Carolina near the Tennessee border.

The elk is named Doc after legendary bluegrass guitarist Doc Watson, and Grandfather Mountain had been looking for a new home for him after he started having problems in his habitat, causing damage to the environment and starting trouble with the two other elk.

According to Grandfather Mountain President and Executive Director Jesse Pope:

“When we chose to renovate that habitat and bring in elk, we felt like the habitat could support three adult elk. However, when we got them here, we realized the toll that these heavier animals have on their environment, with their larger hooves and different feeding behaviors.

During the rut season, we also started having dominance issues between the three elk, with Doc being the most dominant of the three. We felt like it was a good move to try to find another home for him.”

So now he’s going to live with a former NASCAR driver.

Newman, who is an avid conservationist, partnered with Grandfather Mountain to move Doc to his farm:

“While we were in the process of working with the state of North Carolina to identify a new home for Doc, we were very particular about the people we would work with.

We were very fortunate to partner with Ryan Newman, who has a wonderful facility and a passion for wildlife and conservation. After many discussions with Ryan, we both agreed that selling Doc to him was the right move for all involved.”

And according to Newman, it sounds like Doc is enjoying his new home:

“It’s a good opportunity for all. The important thing is that we all get the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, and that’s what’s so cool about Grandfather Mountain. It’s a beautiful place and allows people to see something they wouldn’t see, especially on this side of the Mississippi.”

I guess that’s one way to spend your retirement. But in any case, congratulations to Newman on the new addition to the family, and to Doc for his swanky new home.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock