Ryan Newman wreck

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

Leave a comment

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.

Ross Chastain says his finish ‘unacceptable’ in place of Newman

Leave a comment

He scored a 10th-place finish in the first stage and ran as high as fifth Sunday in a car he never raced before.

Ross Chastain still had a harsh evaluation of his 27th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the No. 6 Ford, which he drove in place of an injured Ryan Newman.

Chastain finished two laps down after causing the final caution on a Lap 262 spin, which he judged “unacceptable,” along with his restart performance (“guys kind of ate me alive”) as a substitute for Roush Fenway Racing.

“It’s hard to get out of the car after you have a top-10 car, and you go and run into people and pick the wrong lanes on restarts and then spin it out at the end,” Chastain said. “That’s pretty silly. Just a lot of mistakes on my end and then at the end just overdriving and for one position to be the first car a lap down. That’s unacceptable.”

Chastain had an average running position of 16.87 over the 400-mile race, which went south after he pitted under green from 15th on Lap 217 of 267. The yellow flag flew five laps later, and Chastain took a wavearound to restart 21st.

(Photo by Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On the restart, he made contact with Kurt Busch and pitted under green to fix a tire rub, which left him a lap down when he spun with five laps remaining.

“There were a lot of small mistakes on my end, but I learned a ton,” he said. “The car deserved a lot better finish.  Obviously, we showed that early and I just didn’t have great restarts. I just have to be better.

“RFR and everybody puts so much into these cars, and ultimately I’m the one holding the wheel.  We had such a good first stage and had so much confidence and from there I just started making mistakes.”

Chastain, who finished 10th in Sunday night’s rain-delayed Xfinity race, will be driving the No. 6 for Roush while Newman recovers from his Daytona 500 crash. In a statement from the team Sunday morning, Newman indicated he plans to drive again this season, but no timetable has been provided for his return.

Podcast: Kyle Petty on wounds being reopened by Ryan Newman’s crash

Leave a comment

Kyle Petty had a hard time getting to sleep Monday night.

That was partly because of the uncertainty surrounding Ryan Newman’s condition after the terrifying last-lap wreck in the Daytona 500.

But it also was because of the dark memories it dredged up for the NASCAR on NBC analyst, whose son, Adam, was killed in a May 12, 2000 crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – one of four fatalities during a nine-month period culminating in Dale Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500.

“Look at pictures of Adam’s accident between at New Hampshire, if you look at Earnhardt’s, so many, many people gathered, but nothing going on is what it looks like,” Petty said on the latest NASCAR on NBC Podcast, comparing those crash scenes with the response to Newman’s wreck. “All of a sudden, 20 years of having that in a box, someone ripped the top off the box, and you can see right down in it again.

OVERTIME STAYS: NASCAR won’t adjust rule at superspeedways after crash

“So for me, it was very emotional. I didn’t sleep much Monday night, honestly. Worried about Ryan, praying for Ryan. But at the same time so many emotions that I thought that time was supposed to heal those wounds. That wound is right there. It’s just under the surface. So it was a tough day or so.”

Petty’s anxiety subsided Tuesday with the news that Newman was alert and talking. The Roush Fenway Racing driver walked out of Halifax Medical Center with his daughters Wednesday afternoon. He is being replaced this weekend by Ross Chastain in the No. 6 Ford at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and no timetable has been provided for his return.

NASCAR hasn’t had a fatality in a national series since Earnhardt’s on Feb. 18, 2001, and Petty openly wondered during the podcast about a youthful generation of budding Cup stars who have yet to experience what it’s like when a peer perishes in a crash.

“When the last fatality happened in a NASCAR upper division, they were in kindergarten or first grade,” Petty said. “So they’ve never seen anything like this. I grew up where you go to the racetrack and you’re playing with a bunch of kids, and their mom comes and gets them, and you never see those kids again. When Friday Hassler got killed at Daytona (in 1972), I never saw his kids again. Have run into them since but never saw them again at a racetrack.

“So many times, you’d go to the racetrack, and a crew member would be killed. A driver would be killed. Whether it was in a qualifying race, practice at Daytona. It was just there. You got used to it. This is an exaggeration, but it’s almost like you’re in a war zone. You just become numb to it. Now we don’t understand it because we don’t see it. We don’t know how to react to it. When we do see something, everyone turns it into a joke, and we laugh it off. … The sport has gotten to a point that it’s incredibly safe, as safe as it’s ever been. But it’s never going to be foolproof safe.”

Since Earnhardt’s crash, NASCAR has mandated the HANS device, SAFER barriers and numerous other safety elements in the car and cockpit. While it’s decreased the danger Petty also worries if it’s led to a false sense of security.

“We just got complacent to the fact that auto racing can be a dangerous sport,” he said. “Now the element of danger has decreased, but it’s always that deep water, flowing really fast, and at the bottom of that well, there’s death.”

During the podcast, Petty also discussed:

–His thoughts on “slam drafting” on superspeedways and how it should be addressed;

–Reacting to Corey LaJoie’s recent comments that no changes need to be made;

–How a driver such as Newman rebounds after such a vicious wreck;

–The laudable way in which Denny Hamlin captured his third Daytona 500 victory.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the embed above, or via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts.

There also is a video version of the podcast available at the Motorsports on NBC channel on YouTube.

Ross Chastain will replace Ryan Newman in the No. 6 at Las Vegas

Leave a comment

Ross Chastain has been chosen to drive the No. 6 Ford at Las Vegas Motor Speedway while Ryan Newman recovers from injuries sustained during his last-lap wreck in Monday’s Daytona 500.

In a statement earlier Wednesday, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Newman had left Halifax Medical Center after being treated and released.

In the release to announce Chastain’s hiring “starting at Las Vegas,” the team said “there is no timetable for Newman’s return. Additional updates will be provided as they become available.”

Chastain has enjoyed success at Las Vegas, earning his first career victory in the Xfinity Series at the 1.5-mile track on Sept. 15, 2018. He is slated to drive a full-time season in Xfinity this year with Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet and will be pulling double-duty in Cup and Xfinity at Las Vegas.

“The NASCAR community has long prided itself on being a close-knit family,” Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said in the release. “That is never more evident than during these types of moments, and we want to express our appreciation to everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing as well as Kaulig Racing for allowing Ross to fill in for Ryan in the No. 6 on such short notice.”

Former Roush Fenway driver David Ragan, who finished fourth in the Daytona 500, also seemed a likely candidate for the ride. But Ragan indicated in a humorous tweet Wednesday morning that he was committed to remaining retired after announcing last year that 2019 would be his last full-time season.

Ryan Newman released from hospital; walks out with daughters

Roush Fenway Racing
1 Comment

Less than 42 hours after being injured during a scary last-lap wreck in the Daytona 500, Ryan Newman was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Roush Fenway Racing announced the news in a release and via Twitter, posting a photo of Newman, clad in T-shirt and jeans, walking from Halifax Medical Center while holding the hands of his two daughters.

It was the second photo that the team had posted Wednesday; earlier reporting that Newman was walking around the hospital in good spirits and playing with his daughters.

Krissie Newman also posted video of the family leaving the hospital.

Newman was injured during a last-lap wreck of the postponed Daytona 500, which ended at 7:55 p.m. ET Monday.

The team posted the photo of him leaving the hospital at 1:49 p.m. ET Wednesday. Team president Steve Newmark posted a photo thanking the hospital staff about an hour later.

Not long after his release, Newman met up with his friends Martin Truex Jr. and his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, in the driver motorhome lot at Daytona International Speedway.