UPDATE 2/29/2020: Ryan Newman is not only alert and active but walking under his own power and joking around with hospital staff
Ryan Newman Continues Great Improvement pic.twitter.com/xIZRiaRApi
— Roush Fenway (@roushfenway) February 19, 2020
As Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney rushed to the checkered flag in the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history, many didn’t see the finish.
They watched behind the leaders as veteran NASCAR driver, Ryan Newman, skied into the air. The Roush-Fenway Racing No. 6 was hit head-on, upside down on the driver’s side roof by Corey LaJoie, with nowhere to go at nearly 200 mph. Newman’s car landed on the wall and slid into a burst of sparks, finally settling with the sparks igniting the fuel.
The safety crews worked to flip Newman’s car upright and remove the driver from the mangled cockpit. The remaining FOX broadcast and the back-to-back Daytona 500 celebration for Denny Hamlin was somber as the NASCAR family awaited the condition of the 42-year-old driver.
The motorsports world let out a collective sigh of relief after nearly two hours of silence when the team released an official announcement of Newman’s condition; serious but not life-threatening.
NASCAR provides an update on Ryan Newman. pic.twitter.com/rZpVKyKeRt
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) February 18, 2020
At times like this we’re reminded these aren’t just vehicles, these are people driving these machines, the classic man vs machine mantra. After this scary incident, I was reminded of a spectacular piece written by Tom Baker of racechaseronline.com shortly after we lost racer, Bryan Clauson:
“Some people say it’s just cars going in a circle. To them, it is. I understand that perspective.
But I always explain to them that once you start caring about someone in one of the cars going in that circle, only then does the love of the sport make sense, because you now begin to cheer for your driver.
It is only when someone cares about one or more of the competitors that he or she becomes a fan and starts to become involved with and make sense of the lifestyle. The drivers become your friends and they become a reason to go somewhere and sit in a grandstand on a weekend night, or to turn on the TV or listen to the radio.
That’s the lifestyle. That’s why I love racing so much.”
Newman’s two young daughters were at the race, watching as their father had a chance to win his second prestigious Daytona 500. Today was a reminder that people are the ones making circles on the track and the sport of NASCAR can be vicious. Today, the racing world, and even people who aren’t NASCAR fans, are thankful that Ryan Newman might have a chance to race another day.
Any further updates will be posted as they become available on Newman’s condition.
“You forget about racing… all you care about is him and his family. That’s all that matters. The racing is secondary from there.” Larry McReynolds and Jamie McMurray react to the latest news on Ryan Newman. pic.twitter.com/h9aADz8cjZ
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 18, 2020