Nascar driver Ryan Newman is in a “serious condition” with non-life threatening injuries after being flipped on the final lap of the Daytona 500 and hit by another car while upside down.

The 42-year-old, who competes for the Roush Fenway Racing team in the No 6 Ford, was leading the prestigious Nascar season-opener as the field approached the finish line when he was spun after contact with Ryan Blaney, who had bump-drafted him into the lead and was attempting to pass to take victory himself.

As the two made contact bumper-to-bumper, Newman’s car was spun into the outside wall and make heavy contact with the concrete barrier, before veering back into the path of oncoming drivers on his roof after flipping over.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

It left Corrie LaJoie with nowhere to go, and he slammed into Newman’s car at full speed that sent him airborne for a second time.

Safety crews immediately rushed to Newman’s aid where he was trapped inside the car, and large black screens were erected around the crash site as officials attempted to extract the American driver. It took more than two hours for Newman to be removed from the wreckage, with the car on fire as it skidded to a stop, and it had to be turned onto its tires before he could be unstrapped. Fox opted not to broadcast Newman’s removal.

Nascar issued a statement shortly afterwards to confirm that Newman was in a serious condition, but the injuries currently pose no threat to his life.

A Nascar statement read: “Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center. He is in a 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.”

Footage of the horrific incident was also shared on Twitter by President Donald Trump, who attended Daytona on Sunday for the honorary start but was not in attendance for Monday’s actual race.

“Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCAR driver! #PrayingForRyan” wrote Trump, who subsequently retweeted the official update on Newman’s condition from the Nascar account as well as GIF of a separate incident during the same race.

Nascar has not had a fatality in a Sprint Cup race since Dale Earnhardt’s tragic death in 2001 at the same racetrack, with Nascar’s restrictor plate races on superspeedways among the fastest races in the world.

Blaney sounded crestfallen afterwards, while LaJoie watched a replay and insisted he had no way to avoid the contact. Fox Sports analyst and four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon may have summed it up best: “Safety’s come a long way in this sport, but sometimes we are reminded that it is a very dangerous sport.”

Breathtaking crashes are common at Daytona International Speedway, where drivers racing for position at 200mph and in tight quarters often make contact.

Nascar responded to Earnhardt’s death in 2001 by improving safety regulations, mandating head-and-neck restraints and improving the design and development of the cars. Newman has been a harsh critic of Nascar’s struggles to keep cars on the racing surface, even getting fined for public comments the sanctioning body considered negative. In 2010, he said fans shouldn’t even go to the track to see races at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama due to the seriousness of the accidents witnessed there.

Newman had escaped several scary wrecks at Daytona and Talladega over the years. His car went airborne, flipped repeatedly and landed on its roof in the 2003 Daytona 500. He had a similar crash-landing at Talladega in 2009.

His latest one will go down in Daytona history along with Austin Dillon’s memorable crash into the catch fence on the final lap of the 2015 July race at Daytona. His car went airborne and tore down part of the fence and injured several fans. The car, with its engine already resting on another part of the track, ended up on its roof and then was smashed into by Brad Keselowski’s car. Dillon remarkably walked away unscathed.

Newman’s wreck looked just as awful to the naked eye and arguably worse on replay.

Blaney turned him hard right and into the outside wall. His car immediately flipped and was sliding on its side when LaJoie rammed into it.

“Dang I hope Newman is ok,” LaJoie tweeted. “That is worst case scenario and I had nowhere to go but smoke.”

Denny Hamlin won the race for Joe Gibbs Racing, his second straight victory in the season opener and third in the last five years. The team celebrated near the start-finish line and again when confetti flew in victory lane, prompting Gibbs to later apologize.

“We really didn’t know,” Gibbs said. “We got in the winner’s circle and then that’s when people told us. I wanted to explain that to everyone.

“That’s what makes it so hard. Such a close-knit community, you know everybody … If you think about all the wrecks that we’ve had over the last how many number of years, some of them have been real serious. We’ve been real fortunate.”

Nascar has declined in popularity since the safety changes that followed Earnhardt’s death, almost falling back to its roots as a regional sport. Newman’s crash surely will elicit calls for Nascar to do even more.

Newman, an Indiana native who graduated with an engineering degree from Purdue, said earlier during Speedweeks he felt renewed in his second year at Roush Fenway Racing and had stopped thinking about retirement.

“It’s all about competitiveness and fun,” said Newman, who also announced he and his wife had split after 16 years of marriage. “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.”

Additional reporting by AP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

‘You better HOPE it’s contagious’: UFC starlet Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee claims she has ‘SWOLVID-19’ as she flexes guns ahead of next fight

The 12th-ranked contender at her weight is looking to end a run of two straight defeats when she meets Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Fight Night on September 12, having been on the wrong end of split decisions in both of her…

Player ratings as Man United easily see off Brighton

Manchester United comfortably saw off Brighton in the Premier League on Tuesday night. Mason Greenwood put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ahead early on and Bruno Fernandes doubled the lead on the half-hour mark. A fantastic counter-attack saw Fernandes smash in…

Trevor Lawrence tests positive for COVID-19

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has tested positive for COVID-19, putting into doubt whether the face of college football will be available to play the top-ranked Tigers’ biggest game of the season. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement released…

‘It was honor wearing David Dorn’s name’: NFL’s Tyler Eifert dons helmet emblazoned with name of black cop killed by looters

“Great win to start the season. Love being a part of this new team and community! It was an honor wearing David Dorns name on my helmet today! #DUUUVAL,” Eifert tweeted after the Jaguars pulled off a surprise victory over…