NASCAR Driver Ryan Newman Awake and Talking After Horrifying Daytona 500 Crash

The 42-year-old racer is in serious condition, but his injuries are deemed non-life-threatening.

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One day after the greater racing community feared the worst for NASCAR veteran Ryan Newman, the 42-year-old remains at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona under close medical watch. The update issued by NASCAR Monday night remains one of the few, saying his injuries are serious but, thankfully, non-life-threatening. This afternoon, however, Roush Fenway Racing confirmed that Newman is awake and talking—a huge feat considering the state of his No. 6 Ford Mustang after flying through the air near the finish line, marring an already-unusual Daytona 500 for drivers and fans.

Newman was in the race lead as he exited Turn 4 in overtime headed for the checkered flag. Eventual winner Denny Hamlin was alongside Newman and behind Team Penske's Ryan Blaney, and was clearly making a push for P1. Newman and Blaney made contact, sending the former into the track's SAFER barrier but the crash was far from over. Upon returning to the top lane of traffic, Newman's Mustang looked to be nailed on the driver's side door by the oncoming Cory LaJoie. This impact sent Newman sailing again before he finally reached the ground, throwing sparks across the pavement as he passed the flag stand on his roof.

It took upwards of 30 minutes for the trackside AMR Safety Crew to extricate Newman from his race car, which could be seen leaking fluids onto a dangerously close flame.

Once Newman was loaded onto a stretcher and placed in the back of an ambulance, medical professionals rushed him down the track's front stretch where he had just crashed. They pulled onto Highway 92, the road just outside the speedway which had been closed to make way for Newman, and worked to quickly evaluate the seasoned driver's condition.

Roush Fenway Racing issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

We're yet to hear exactly what injuries Newman suffered from the nasty accident. Of the multiple crashes "Rocket Man" has suffered at NASCAR's restrictor-plate tracks this was undoubtedly the most violent. When he wrecked at the finish line in Daytona some seven years ago, he walked away largely unscathed—that seemingly is not the case here. 

Still, it's something to appreciate and applaud that Newman will live to see another day. Whether or not he chooses to race again is a different topic; he explained ahead of the 2020 NASCAR Cup season opener that he has already stuck around longer than expected.

“It's all about competitiveness and fun,” said Newman. "I want to have fun with my life. If I can have fun in this garage doing it and get paid what I feel like I deserve to get paid, then I'm all for it. It's got to be fun and it's got be rewarding in more ways than one."

“I'm doing it past when I said I was going to do it 10 years ago. I don't know how to give the answer anymore, I really don't. I always said 40 and I'm 42 now."

NASCAR can and certainly should use Newman's case to improve safety for its drivers, which is something everyone across the paddock agrees on. The Cup Series hasn't seen a fatality since Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s in 2001 but last night, it seemed like that could've changed in an instant.

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