By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Ryan Newman’s road to recovery following his frightening crash at the end of the Daytona 500 took him to New York City and the TODAY Show on NBC on Wednesday, where he detailed more about how things are going for him in the weeks since the crash.
“It’s still humbling to watch [a replay of the crash] and know that I’m sitting here without a headache, which is amazing,” Newman said. “Just a miracle on so many levels and thankful for so many people, for prayers, for all of the things that went into me being safer in that situation.
“It’s emotional, no doubt. I think about the fact that I was that close [to winning the Daytona 500], but really, in the end, I’m humbled by the opportunity to continue my life. To be blessed by so many people’s prayers, to be sitting here, and hopefully make something of it enjoying life with my daughters.”
Since walking out of the hospital less than 48 hours after the crash hand in hand with his two daughters, Newman has slowly been returning to the public eye, first putting out a statement through Roush Fenway Racing at Las Vegas and then being at the track last Sunday at Phoenix in support of his No. 6 team and Ross Chastain, who has been driving his car.
In his statement during the Las Vegas race weekend, Newman alluded to having a head injury after the crash, which he shed some more light on Wednesday.
“Basically like a bruised brain, it just takes time for it to heal,” Newman said. “I was knocked out. There was a point that I don’t remember part of the race. Realistically, I just feel so lucky. On so many levels, I feel so lucky.
“If you look at the crash, you think that’s spectacular in a bad way, right? But if your look at the car afterwards, you think about all the things about what happened right for me to be sitting here.”
Newman, who has long been a proponent of safety in the sport, tipped his hat to everyone involved that allowed him to be laughing and joking on national TV in such a short time span after his violent crash.
“It’s not just me, but there’s a whole group at NASCAR who has done a great job,” Newman said. “From the tracks to the safety personnel, the drivers inside the car, the cockpits, the containment seats that we have, there’s so levels of things that happened in the last 20 years that I’ve been a part of this sport that helped me to be able to sit here today.
“The cage was compromised. Those welds held together, so the guys in the shop did an amazing job. All the things that happened that kept me here. I got hit from behind by a car going 190 mph and it pushed me back, but then he pushed me forward. Like his car actually hit my seat, so it’s just lots of things that happened that aligned. The angels aligned and held a really good grip with their hands.”
While Newman and his team are still unsure of when he’ll return to his driving duties, saying they’re ‘working on it. Soon as I possibly can,’ he remains steadfast in his commitment of getting back in the car as soon as his health allows it.
“I love it,” Newman said of why he’s so committed to returning to the driver’s seat. “It’s been a little bit painful to be out of the race car and to not be doing what I’ve done for so many years. I started racing when I was four years old, so it’s just kind of who I am.”