Ryan Newman is in serious but non-life-threatening condition after suffering a massive wreck in the NASCAR Cup Series‘ season-opening Daytona 500. Hours after the race, NASCAR and his Roush Fenway Racing team released a statement confirming Newman’s health after being taken to Halifax Medical Center.
“Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center,” the statement read. “He is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and ask that you respect the privacy of Ryan and his family during this time. We appreciate your patience and cooperation and we will provide more information as it becomes available.”
Newman, who led fifteen laps in the rain-delayed race, was in position to win his second 500 and first since 2008 as it entered overtime. On the final lap of a second overtime attempt, he received drafting help from Ryan Blaney that pushed him past leader Denny Hamlin on the backstretch. However, as they exited turn four, Newman was clipped by Blaney before being impacted by Corey LaJoie, sending Newman’s #6 into a flip. On Twitter, LaJoie said the wreck was the “worst case scenerio [sic]” as he “had nowhere to go but smoke”.
The #6 came to a rest with a destroyed cockpit as fuel began to leak. At the front, Hamlin beat out Blaney for the race win before celebrating his victory despite a lack of word on Newman’s health.
After Newman was extracted from his car and transported to the hospital, black screens surrounded the vehicle as Daytona International Speedway worker began cleanup. The Ford Mustang was eventually taken away on a truck but was not covered.
Hamlin’s actions were criticised on social media, though he and Joe Gibbs Racing acknowledged Newman in Victory Lane, with owner Joe Gibbs later apologising as they had not known of the crash’s severity. The #11’s spotter Chris Lambert also took responsibility, writing in a Twitter thread that he had approached Newman’s spotter Jason Jarrett for more information but failed to relay it to Hamlin.
Hamlin also tweeted to explain he was unaware of the wreck’s degree until he had arrived in Victory Lane.
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell later announced the news of Newman’s health.
“We’re grateful for the news about Ryan,” Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook stated. “We had been waiting for information just like everyone else, so to hear some positive news tonight is a relief. Ryan has been an important part of the Roush Fenway and Ford NASCAR program this past year, and he is so respected for being a great competitor by everyone in the sport. The entire Ford family is sending positive thoughts for his recovery, but our first thoughts remain with his family and his team.”
Further updates, including Newman and the #6’s plans for upcoming races, will be revealed at later times.