Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Newman Issues First Statement Since Daytona 500 Crash

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Ryan Newman confirmed in his first statement since Monday’s violent Daytona 500 crash that he sustained head injury which will put him out for an unknown amount of time.

Newman also mentioned that he doesn’t have any internal organ damage or broken bones, but once the green light is given for an on-track return, even if doesn’t mean strapping in his No. 6 Ford Mustang right away, he’ll be there.

Here’s Newman’s full statement that was issued prior to Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“I’m sorry that I can’t be at the track in person, but I asked Steve to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for all the support that was shown last week to both me and my family.  The outpouring of emotion from not only the NASCAR community, but across the country has been truly humbling.

“I want to personally thank everyone, including the man upstairs, for their support, encouragement and the numerous offers of assistance.  We always say that the NASCAR community is one big family and never has that been more evident to me than after seeing this family rally together and provide the comfort and support that has been shown to my family and me over the past few days.  The calls and visits from the NASCAR executives and my friends and competitors has been truly uplifting.

“I want to thank everyone involved in my care, especially the staff at Halifax Medical Center, where I am convinced I received the best care available.  I’m confident the efforts of each of those trained professionals played a major role in where I’m sitting today.  And to the entire NASCAR organization, led by Jim France, thanks for being by my side the entire time.  You truly stepped up to support me unconditionally when it mattered most.

“Most importantly, I have to thank the guys back at the Roush Fenway Racing shop that built me a car not only fast enough to lead the final seconds of the Daytona 500, but strong enough to do its job under great distress, allowing me to survive such an accident.  I am truly indebted to each of you and it is unlikely I will ever be able to properly express to you how much the diligent effort with which you conduct your craftmanship has affected me and my family.  I hope you took pride in the photograph of me walking out of the hospital hand-in-hand with my daughters on Wednesday.  Thank you.  I can’t wait to get back in your race car.

“I was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones.  I did sustain a head injury for which I’m currently being treated.  The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days.

“Again, I want to thank each of you, from my partners, teammates and competitors and each and every fan across the country.  Thank you everyone for the unparalleled concern and unwavering support.  And to the media, who has acted with such respect and class during this time.

“I have spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the number six car will be waiting and ready for my return.  I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford.”

Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark commented that Newman is as determined to fight for a NASCAR Cup Series championship than ever before. Not next year when the new car is expected to debut, but the current season once he gets cleared by his personal doctors.

“His objective is to win the 2020 Cup championship,” Newmark said. “So hopefully that gives you a little insight into his mindset.”

No doubt, Newman will be eyeing for a waiver to keep him playoff eligible where he’ll have to win and be inside the top-30 in points after the regular season finale wraps up at Daytona August 29. However, Newmark commented that they haven’t talked with NASCAR about because it’s not that high on the priority list at this time.

“It’s something that I think in his mind he’s gonna figure out how he can get back here, get that waiver and then go out and win a race,” Newmark said. “We are gonna continue to pursue that vision until we’re told we can’t.”

Newmark shared his thoughts of how he felt when the crash took place as Newman was battling for the race win coming towards the checkered flag before the catastrophic mayhem happened, and thanked everyone involved on helping Newman get out of his car and while being treated at Halifax Medical Center.

“It probably affected me the same way it affected a lot of members of our team. It’s a hard dose of perspective,” Newmark said. “You go from being nervous and anxious about the race and thinking that you’re about to have a fantastic start to the season and vindication of a lot of the effort you had over the offseason to realizing those concerns aren’t really that heavy and that weighty and that really the important part is you just go to thinking that I hope he’s all right and this doesn’t impact him going forward.

“He has two young, beautiful daughters and thankfully several hours later we kind of got that news and there really was a wave of relief for everybody in our organization. There’s a group at the hospital – Mike Helton and Jim France and Jack – and I think a lot of prayers were said and I think a lot of people felt they were answered when we got that news.”

On a lighter note, Newmark mentioned that while Newman was at the hospital, as soon as he knew that donuts were available, he might’ve made his father grab some for him as well as the family poking fun of his toughness.

“He is as tough as they come and it was also refreshing to be in the hospital room listening to his family make fun of him for having no neck and for just being completely thick,” Newmark said. “And there is truth to the rumor that when he heard there were donuts down in the room where we were all congregated that he asked his dad to confiscate some and bring them back up to his room.  I don’t know what happened then, but not a surprising development.”

Humorous moment aside, Newmark stated that Newman has communicated with the team by calling his crew chief Scott Graves and fill-in driver Ross Chastain the past few days. Showcasing his tremendous commitment to the team during difficult circumstances.

Newmark said that while Chastain, who got approval from both Kaulig Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing to fill-in, is in the car at Las Vegas, added with the unknown timetable for Newman’s return, the whole RFR team will be taking it race-by-race.

“At this point, I would say it’s open ended because, I’ll answer another question that I’m sure will come up, is we don’t have a timetable for Ryan’s return,” Newmark said. “I can tell you what his timetable would like to be, which is soon as possible, but there’s some other hoops that he’s got to jump through before that happens. Right now, we’re just taking it one race at a time. Our arrangement with Ross is if we need him, he should be available.”

Now that the motorsports community truly know Newman’s latest conditions, the rest of the Cup field will soldier onto their upcoming race at Las Vegas with live race coverage commencing at 3:30 pm on Fox. Joey Logano is the defending race winner.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a four-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.