Ryan Blaney said in a social media post Thursday night that he’s “replaying” the incident with Ryan Newman “over and over” and that he is thankful for family, friends and fans that have supported him since the accident.
Blaney also said he spoke with Newman on Wednesday night and “it was just good to hear his voice to be honest. His Ryan Newman humor was at large and brought a smile to my face. The recovery he has made the past few days have been remarkable. I look forward to seeing him soon to talk about it more.”
Blaney pushed Newman into the lead past Denny Hamlin on the backstretch of the final lap of Monday’s Daytona 500. As they came down the frontstretch, Blaney tired to pass but Newman blocked.
Blaney later said that at that point, he was focused on pushing Newman to the win to ensure a Ford was victorious. But one of Blaney’s pushes unsettled Newman’s car, turning Newman into the wall and the path of Corey LaJoie, who slammed into the driver side area of Newman’s upside down car. The contact sent Newman’s car in the air. It landed on its roof and slid down the frontstretch, coming to rest beyond the end of pit road. It took safety workers more than 10 minutes to extricate Newman. He was immediately transported to Halifax Medical Center and released Wednesday afternoon.
“We are all competitors racing for wins every weekend but at the same time are one big family, and you never want to see family get hurt,” Blaney wrote. “Have been replaying the events in my head over and over about what I could’ve done differently ever since.
“I’m very lucky to have a great family, friends, team and incredible fans that have helped me out this week. I can’t thank everyone enough for that.
“I can’t wait to have Rocketman Ryan Newman back at the track racing as hard as ever.”
Smith, Allgaier, sixth-place finisher Daniel Hemric and seventh-place finisher Sam Mayer — the top four full-time Xfinity drivers — will be eligible for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Richmond Raceway.
Allmendinger won the first stage and then pitted. When a caution came out shortly, it put him 21st in the field. On the Lap 20 restart, his car suffered damage when he was hit going into Turn 1.
Allmendinger worked his way through the field and took the lead from Sheldon Creed on Lap 33 when they made contact and Creed spun. Creed fell back to 23rd and finished the 46-lap race in ninth.
Stage 1 winner: AJ Allmendinger
Stage 2 winner: Sheldon Creed
Who had a bad race: Austin Hill, who had won three of the first five races this season, had mechanical issues early and finished 37th in the 38-car field.
Next: The series races April 1 at Richmond Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FS1)
The key moment came when Parker Kligerman‘s truck came to a stop on the frontstretch at Lap 28. Smith, running second, made it to pit road before it was closed. Busch, who was leading, had already passed pit road entrance.
Smith gained the lead with the move, while Busch had to pit under the caution and restarted 16th. Smith was able to build a lead and beat Busch by 5.4 seconds.
Who had a good race: Ty Majeski’s third-place finish is his best of the season. … Tyler Ankrum’s fourth-place finish is his best of the year. … Corey Heim has finished sixth two races in a row. … Rookie Nick Sanchez finished seventh, giving him back-to-back top 10s.
Who had a bad race: Parker Kligerman was running third when electrical issues forced him to stop on track just after the end of the second stage. … After winning the first stage, Christian Eckes had mechanical issues and had to pit for repairs, costing him several laps.
Notable: Front Row Motorsports has won the Truck COTA race all three years. Todd Gilliland won the race in 2021 and Zane Smith has won it the past two years.
Next: The series races April 1 at Texas Motor Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET on FS1).
William Byron will start on the pole for Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas.
Byron won the pole with a lap of 93.882 mph around the 3.41-mile road course Saturday. He becomes the first Cup driver to win a pole at four different road courses: Charlotte Roval (2019), Road America (2021), Indianapolis road course (2021) and COTA (2023).
Byron will be joined on the front row by Tyler Reddick, who had posted the fastest lap in Friday’s practice and fastest lap in the opening round of qualifying Saturday. Reddick qualified at 93.783 mph.
Austin Cindric (93.459 mph) qualified third. Former IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, substituting for an injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, qualified fourth with a lap of 93.174 mph. AJ Allmendinger (93.067) will start fifth.
Taylor’s performance is the best qualifying effort by a driver making their Cup debut since Boris Said started second in his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.
Ross Chastain, who won this event a year ago, qualified 12th. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen qualified 22nd, former world champion Jenson Button qualified 24th, seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson qualified 31st and IndyCar driver Conor Daly qualified 35th.