NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney has spoken out following the crash during the Daytona 500 that hospitalized Ryan Newman for two days. Blaney — whose car made contact with Newman's to set off the chain of events that led to Newman's No. 6 Ford in flames, skidding across the finish line on its roof — took to social media to make a statement Thursday night, revealing that he spoke with Newman amid his recovery.
"I don't think you will ever see someone as tough as Ryan Newman, to see him walk out of that hospital with his girls brought a tear to my eye," Blaney, 26, began. "I was lucky enough to speak with him last night briefly about what happened Monday, it was just good to hear his voice to be honest. His Ryan Newman humor was at large and brought a smile to my face. The recovery he has made the past few days have been remarkable. I look forward to seeing him soon to talk about it more."
He then went on to discuss the role his vehicle played in the fiery crash. "We are all competitors racing for wins every weekend but at the same time are one big family, and you never want to see family get hurt. Have been replaying the events in my head over and over about what I could've done differently ever since."
Blaney went on to share how he was "very lucky to have a great family, friends, team and incredible fans" that have helped him out this week. "I can't thank everyone enough for that. I can't wait to have Rocketman Ryan Newman back at the track racing as hard as ever," he said.
Newman was released from the hospital on Wednesday, sharing a photo of himself and his two daughters leaving the hospital together. Since his release, his good friend Martin Truex Jr. revealed a photo of the two of them together flashing a thumbs-up signal.
Newman was in the lead during the final lap of overtime Monday night when Blaney's car bumped into Newman's in what Blaney said was a routine push for Newman to win to ensure a Ford was victorious. But the push unsettled Newman's car, turning him into the wall and the path of Corey LaJoie, who slammed into the driver's side area of Newman's flipped car. That contact sent Newman's car airborne, flipping multiple times until it landed on its roof, slide down the front stretch and came to rest beyond the end of pit road.
Safety crews spent more than 10 minutes trying to extricate Newman from the vehicle, which briefly caught on fire during the crash. He was immediately transported to Halifax Medical Center, where he remained until Wednesday afternoon.
Newman will not race this weekend; Roush Fenway Racing announced that Ross Chastain will drive Newman's No. 6 Ford this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.