Ryan Newman's car flipped and caught fire during a crash at the finish line of the Daytona 500 on Monday as he tried to hold on to the lead.
In a frightening scene, Newman was unresponsive on his radio as medics rushed onto the track. He was removed from his mangled car and stretchered into an ambulance as race personnel held up large black screens to block the crowd's view. Newman was transported to the nearby Halifax Medical Center.
NASCAR in a statement announced that Newman is in serious condition but that his injuries are not expected to be life-threatening. He remained hospitalized Tuesday morning.
The final lap of the Daytona 500 took place after several previous big crashes in the race forced stoppages. Newman, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney were packed together nearing the final stretch, with Newman slightly ahead. Newman's vehicle was turned into the outside wall, and as he flipped, Corey LaJoie was unable to avoid him while going at full speed.
Hamlin finished in first place and, unaware of the severity of the accident, celebrated the win in Victory Lane before issuing an apology once he learned what had occurred behind him.
Hamlin says he was unaware of severity of Newman situation until Fox told him no frontstretch interview.— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) February 18, 2020
#NASCAR ... Car owner Joe Gibbs apologizes in media center for team celebrating Daytona 500 win in light of Ryan Newman's crash.— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) February 18, 2020
Gibbs said team didn't know about severity of Newman's crash until being informed about it in victory lane.
First a foremost I want to give well wishes and prayers to @RyanJNewman. I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane. There’s very little communication after the finish and i had already unhooked my radio. It’s not anyone’s fault. Rocket— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 18, 2020
NASCAR drivers, Hamlin included, have offered their prayers and support to Newman en masse.
#NASCAR ... Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin in media center on Ryan Newman: "We"re just hoping for the best."— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) February 18, 2020
Big prayers for Newman— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 18, 2020
Hope Ryan’s okay.— Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) February 18, 2020
This shit is real. We’re all on the road together doing what we love. Please let @RyanJNewman be ok here.— Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) February 18, 2020
Newman, 42, has been driving since 2000. His best season to date is the 2014 campaign, when he finished in second place in the championship chase.