Daytona 500

Ryan Newman thanks fans for ‘their prayers’

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Ryan Newman thanked fans for their support as he continues to recover from a head injury suffered in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500.

In a tweet Monday, Newman thanked fans for “their prayers. … I’ve been blessed in so many ways.”

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show on March 11, Newman said he suffered a bruised brain and was knocked unconscious in the crash. He also said in that interview that he wants to return to racing “as soon as I possibly can.”

About his injuries, Newman said on the “Today” show: “It takes time for it to heal. I was knocked out. There was a point where I don’t remember a part of the race. Realistically, I feel so lucky. On so many levels, I feel so lucky. You look at the crash and you think that is spectacular in a bad way. You look at the car afterwards, you think about all the things that happened right for me to be sitting here.”

As for when he will return, Newman said: “I don’t know yet. We’re working on it. Soon as I possibly can.”

Newman led the Daytona 500 with 1 mile to go last month after being pushed to the front by Ryan Blaney. After exiting Turn 4, Newman blocked Blaney, who then tried to push Newman to the win to ensure a Ford victory. But one of the shoves from Blaney’s car unsettled Newman’s car and it turned into the wall.

Newman’s car went airborne. Corey LaJoie couldn’t avoid Newman’s car and hit it on the driver’s side while it was upside down. Newman’s car landed on its roof and slid down the frontstretch, coming to rest beyond the exit of pit road.

NASCAR later stated that Newman was extracted from the car 15 minutes, 40 seconds after the car came to rest. Newman was hospitalized for about 42 hours after his crash

 

 

March 22 in NASCAR History: Johnny Beauchamp’s Revenge

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You probably don’t know who Johnny Beauchamp is.

He was the first winner of the inaugural Daytona 500.

Yes, the “first” winner.

Winner Lee Petty (No. 42) edges his Oldsmobile past the Ford Thunderbird of Johnny Beauchamp (No. 73) to win the first Daytona 500.  Joe Weatherly (No. 48) was a lap down to the leaders. (Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images)

On Feb. 22, 1959, Beauchamp was involved in a photo finish in the Daytona 500 with Lee Petty. Beauchamp was initially declared the unofficial winner, but after three days of reviewing film and pictures of the finish, NASCAR declared Petty the winner.

A native of Harlan, Iowa, the inaugural 500 was Beauchamp’s sixth career Cup Series start.

The NASCAR season continued, with Curtis Turner winning races at Orange Speedway in Hillsborough, North Carolina, on March 1 and Concord (N.C.) Speedway on March 8.

Beauchamp didn’t participate in those races. He made his first post-Daytona start on March 22 at Lakewood Speedway, a dirt track in Georgia.

Beauchamp started second next to Buck Baker and after taking the lead on the first lap, he never gave it away.

Beauchamp led all 100 laps around the 1-mile track, completing the event in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Baker finished second.

Petty, who started seventh, fell out of the race on Lap 39 due to an axle problem.

While Petty won 54 times in 427 career Cup Series starts, Beauchamp only made 23 starts between 1953-61. He’d win only one more race, at Nashville Speedway in 1960.

In 1961, Beauchamp and Petty were involved in a violent wreck on the last lap of the second Daytona 500 qualifying race when they both sailed through the guardrail in Turn 4. With minor head injuries, it proved to be Beauchamp’s final NASCAR race. With the injuries he suffered, Petty would only make six more starts.

Also on this date:

1987: Brad Teague, a veteran of 294 NASCAR national series races between 1982-2004, beat Dale Jarrett in an Xfinity race at Martinsville Speedway for his only career Xfinity victory in 241 starts. The 1987 season was Teague’s only year of full-time NASCAR competition.

2015: In an overtime finish, Brad Keselowski passed Kurt Busch on the last lap and and held him off win at Auto Club Speedway. It was Keselowski’s only win that year and it remains his only Cup win on the 2-mile track.

NASCAR driver: ‘Sitting here at home on a Saturday. It feels weird’

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Saturday was to have been the day NASCAR fans found out: Could someone defeat Kyle Busch in a Truck race?

The answer had been no in Busch’s last seven series starts, dating to 2018, but the interest in his streak built the last few weeks.

It started with a Feb. 22 tweet from Kevin Harvick: “I’ll put up a $50,000 bounty for any full time cup driver who races a truck and can beat @KyleBusch in his next 4 races. #gameon.”

Marcus Lemonis, from series sponsor Gander RV & Outdoors, added another $50,000 to Harvick’s bounty. Truck owner Chris Larsen pledged $50,000 to any Truck Series regular who could win a series race with Kyle Busch.

Suddenly, Saturday’s Truck race at Atlanta Motor Speedway became the most anticipated series event since the Trucks ran at Eldora Speedway for the first time in 2013.

With sports shut down, including NASCAR, for the foreseeable future because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saturday became a day of confusion. What to do with no racing and no sports.

“I’m sitting here at home on a Saturday. It feels weird,” Matt DiBenedetto said in a video to fans.

Ryan Newman, who continues his recovery from a head injury suffered in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500, took time for more of what he called “therapy” on Saturday. He went fishing.

Aric Almirola did some racing at home with his children.

This much is certain. NASCAR postponed this weekend’s races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and next weekend’s races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was to have made his one Xfinity start at Miami. Now? We’ll see.

Next on the schedule is Texas Motor Speedway. It hosts Trucks, Xfinity and Cup on March 27-29.

On Friday, the mayor of Fort Worth, Texas issued a state of emergency that included a mandatory cancelation of any events or gatherings with an expected attendance of 250 people or more. The mandate, though, is for seven days.

Texas Motor Speedway issued a statement Saturday that track officials are “currently preparing to host our regularly scheduled events and will continue consulting with officials on best practices and recommendations.”

But there will be racing Sunday even if Atlanta Motor Speedway will sit silent.

Kevin Hamlin, spotter for Alex Bowman, tweeted that there will be a 100-lap NASCAR industry iRacing event at 3 p.m. ET Sunday. Among those scheduled to take part are Hamlin, Bowman, Earnhardt, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, Justin Allgaier, Harrison Burton and crew chief Chad Knaus.

DiBenedetto mentioned in his video to fans about an iRacing event next weekend..

As restrictions continue and events are postponed, the only races for NASCAR fans could be online events with some of the their favorite drivers.

“Hope all this stuff passes,” DiBenedetto said in his video to fans. “Hang with us and we can get back to the racetrack soon.”

Ryan Newman wants to return to racing ‘as soon as I possibly can’

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Ryan Newman said Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today” show that he suffered a bruised brain and was knocked unconscious in his Daytona 500 crash, but he wants to return to racing “as soon as I possibly can.”

Newman said in the interview that the cage of his car “was compromised. All those welds held together, so the guys at the shop did an amazing job. I got hit from behind by a car going 190 miles an hour and it pushed me back but then (Corey LaJoie‘s) car pushed me forward, his car actually hit my seat.”

About his injuries, Newman said on the “Today” show: “It takes time for it to heal. I was knocked out. There was a point where I don’t remember a part of the race. Realistically, I feel so lucky. On so many levels, I feel so lucky. You look at the crash and you think that is spectacular in a bad way. You look at the car afterwards, you think about all the things that happened right for me to be sitting here.”

As for when he will return, Newman said: “I don’t know yet. We’re working on it. Soon as I possibly can.”

Newman displayed his trademark humor in the interview when asked about the last thing he remembers from the crash.

Ryan Newman on the set of the Today show on Wednesday (Photo: Today show/@photonate

“This was my I should have won interview, right?” he said to laughter. “It’s emotional, no doubt. I think about the fact that I was that close, but, really in the end, I’m really 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, enjoy life with my daughters.”

Newman was asked about his interest in safety throughout his NASCAR career. The Purdue engineer has been outspoken about safety issues.

“It’s not just me, but there’s a whole group at NASCAR that has done a great job, from the tracks to the safety personnel, the drivers inside the cars, the cockpits, the containment seats that we have,” he said. “There are so many levels of things that happened in the last 20 years that I’ve been a part of the sport that helped me be able to sit here today.”

Asked about what went right in the crash that helped him survive, Newman told the “Today” show: “Just where I was kind of hit, so to speak. The cage was compromised. All those welds held together, so the guys at the shop did an amazing job. I got hit from behind by a car going 190 miles an hour and it pushed me back but then (Corey LaJoie’s) car pushed me forward, his car actually hit my seat. Just lots of things that happened that aligned. The angels aligned and held a really good grip with their hands.”

Newman was asked why he would want to return to racing after surviving such a horrific accident when he could retire at 42 instead.

“I love it,” he said. “Because I’m just 42 right? Really, I love it. It’s been a little bit painful to be out of the racecar, to not being doing what I’ve done for so many years. I started racing when I was 4 years old, 4 1/2 years old. It’s just kind of who I am.”

As for what he told his two daughters, who walked out of the hospital with him hand in hand, Newman told the “Today” show: “Just daddy’s alright. They seem to be completely fine with the fact that I’m still daddy. I think it would be totally different if something else would have happened, but I’m 100 percent who I was, which they were good with.”

Newman led the Daytona 500 with 1 mile to go last month after being pushed to the front by Ryan Blaney. After exiting Turn 4, Newman blocked Blaney, who then tried to push Newman to the win to ensure a Ford victory. But one of the shoves from Blaney’s car unsettled Newman’s car and it turned into the wall.

Newman’s car went airborne and spun upside down. LaJoie couldn’t avoid Newman’s car and hit it on the driver’s side while it was upside down. Newman’s car landed on its roof and slid down the frontstretech, coming to rest beyond the exit of pit road.

NASCAR later stated that Newman was extracted from the car 15 minutes, 40 seconds after the car came to rest. Newman was hospitalized for about 42 hours after his crash.

Ryan Newman with members of his team at Phoenix Raceway. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

In a statement last month, Newman said that the only injury he suffered from the crash was a head injury. Newman has not disclosed any other details about that injury but told reporters last weekend at Phoenix Raceway that he had no timetable for his return to racing.

Last weekend at Phoenix marked Newman’s first time at a track since his crash at Daytona. He told reporters in a brief interview: “It’s great to be alive. If you looked at my car, it’s a miracle.”

Drivers were excited to see Newman at Phoenix. Newman surprised some when he attended an event for Ford drivers.

“It was nice to see him,” Blaney said. “He is full Ryan Newman caliber and it is great to see. It was cool to hear some of the process that he went through and some of the doctors that worked on him. They were very extensive with him and he has been passing everything with flying colors which is unheard of and great to hear.”

Said Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin: “It’s a blessing to be in this position and be talking about when he will get back in the car, especially at this time. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ross Chastain has driven Newman’s No. 6 car for Roush Fenway Racing in the three races since the Daytona 500 and is on the entry list for this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Wednesday afternoon, Newman posted a picture of himself doing his “therapy.”

‘This is like a miracle’: Ryan Newman hangs with Cup drivers in Phoenix

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Three of the NASCAR drivers involved in the terrifying crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500 were reunited under much better circumstances Thursday.

With a “Look who I found” message, a grinning Corey LaJoie posted a photo to Twitter alongside a smiling Ryan Newman and Ryan Blaney.

It was part of a group outing at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, for several Ford drivers Thursday that included Joey Logano. The 2018 series champion told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” that the experience of spending time with Newman for 90 minutes was “like a miracle.”

Said Logano: “You look at that crash and it’s just like, ‘How is he even OK? He’s walking, he’s talking like nothing happened.’ He says his memory’s not foggy. Everything is there. It’s insane.

“Couldn’t be more happy for him and his family about that situation. I don’t believe in luck, but I believe in God and I believe that God really got involved with that one. …

“(Newman) said when he was flying out here, there was a little turbulence on the airplane and he was like, ‘This is nothing, don’t you worry about this. I’ve been through way worse.'”

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race is at nearby Phoenix Raceway. It’ll be the third race Newman misses since being injured in the Feb. 17 crash at Daytona International Speedway.

A Roush Fenway spokesman told NBCSports.com that Newman would be at Phoenix Raceway this weekend in support of the team. He isn’t scheduled to do interviews. Roush already had announced Ross Chastain, who has filled in for Newman the past two races, as the No. 6 Ford driver at Phoenix.

The drivers were at Sun Devil Stadium on behalf of Ford Performance to take part in a punt, kick and pass competition.

“Ryan Newman showed up,” Logano said. “We all thought that was the coolest thing. We talked to Ryan, I don’t know, an hour-and-a-half or so, just about his whole experience and everything that’s been going on, how he’s doing.

“Boy, he’s still Ryan Newman, nothing changed. Don’t worry about that. It’s a lot of fun to see him. It’s kind of weird, we’re all sitting there and I told him, ‘This is like a miracle, you sitting here right now. How is that even possible?’ He goes, ‘You know, if you saw the car you’d be even more amazed.’

“He recognizes the miracle that it is. Just crazy.”

Newman has yet to race since being injured in the Daytona crash, which started after a bump from Blaney’s No. 12 Ford sent his No. 6 careening into the outside wall. After going airborne, Newman’s car was hit at full speed by LaJoie’s No. 32 Ford.

Newman spent less than 48 hours at Halifax Medical Center before being released. He since has visited the Roush Fenway Racing shop, posted on social media and released a statement through the team (in which he vowed to race again).

Blaney talked to Newman the Wednesday night he left the hospital, and LaJoie said he had texted with Newman the same night.