Monday night, just before reaching the finish line in the final lap of the Daytona 500, Ryan Newman ended up in a serious car crash. After he was taken to a nearby hospital that night, it was announced that the driver was "awake and speaking" as of Tuesday. Now, NASCAR Cup Series driver and fellow Daytona competitor Corey Lajoie has addressed how he saw the incident in an interview with Fox & Friends on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately that was a worst-case scenario for Ryan and myself, because I took a big lick, too," Lajoie explained, via FOX Wilmington. "I'm really sore but not as sore as Ryan and I was very lucky to come out of there unscathed."
Lajoie went on to explain all he could see was a wall of smoke in front of him as the crash unfolded, and ended up hitting Newman's car at roughly 200 mph.
"Next thing I know, the smoke cleared for a split-second and I had a car sitting on my lap, more or less," he said. "I didn't know where I hit him. I didn't know who I hit. I came to a halt and got out because my car was on fire, and the wind was knocked out of me, and I was trying to collect my thoughts and just figure out what happened. I think everybody in the NASCAR community would agree that Ryan is probably the toughest guy in the garage. So there is no question he is going to make a full recovery and be back soon."
He went on to praise the recent safety advances made by NASCAR that kept a bad situation from getting worse.
"It takes one moment like that to really put in perspective how dangerous our jobs are," he said.
I think the fans sometimes take that for granted, too. When we strap in each and every week, we put our lives on the line."
"We've established that over the last 10 years," Newman said at the time. "That's when cars get airborne. They raised the back of the cars up an inch and it just packs more air underneath them. I hope we keep them on the ground and get lucky because I don't think they've done a good job of keeping them on the ground or making an effort to keep them on the ground."