Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS JR. / RPW – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – After a day’s delay due to rain with just over 20 laps complete in the Daytona 500, the field resumed racing again Monday afternoon for their attempt at the Harley J. Earl trophy. Denny Hamlin controlled much of the event on his way to a back to back victory in the Great American Race and the third in his career.
However the finish to the opening race of the NASCAR Cup Series season was left with a somber atmosphere as Ryan Newman’s Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford took a wild ride through the tri-oval and was struck cockpit first by another machine at a high rate of speed. Safety crews immediately put out a small fire at the back of the veteran and former Daytona 500 winner’s machine.
Newman was extricated from his car carefully and brought directly to Halifax Medical Center. Further updates on Newman’s condition to come as this story develops.
-Update: NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell addressed the media at Daytona on the condition of Ryan Newman. Reading from a statement by Roush Fenway Racing, O’Donnell said,
“Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center. He is in serious condition. The doctors have indicated his injuries are non-life threatening. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and ask that you respect the privacy of Ryan and his family during this time. We appreciate your patience and cooperation and will provide more information as it becomes available.”
O’Donnell also noted on NASCAR’s behalf,
“We’re going to continue to work with the race team and Ryan’s family to support them in any way we can. We’d ask that you respect their privacy and going forward we will provide updates as we can but at this time our thoughts are with Ryan and his family.”
The mood was somber in Victory Lane, as Hamlin’s crew received word of Newman’s situation.
“… Number one, we’re praying for Ryan.” Hamlin said during interviews, “I don’t even know what to say, it’s so unexpected. They were coming with a big run there, my job was just to put a block there that wouldn’t wreck me.”
“I feel like I’m a student to the game.” Hamlin said of his third win, “I never stop learning and trying to figure out where I need to put myself at the right time and it doesn’t always work, but we’ve defied odds here the past eight years or so in the Daytona 500.”