On Friday, NASCAR driver, Ryan Blaney opened up to the media following fellow stock car racer, Ryan Newman's fiery Daytona 500 crash on Feb. 17. Speaking extensively while in Fontana, California for Sunday's Auto Club 400, Blaney opened up about his emotions in Daytona's last-lap crash — where the 26-year-old driver hit Newman from behind in the tri-oval, sending the Hoosier flying into the outside wall.
Ryan Blaney met the media for the first time since the Newman accident. He explains what talking to Ryan meant to him, how he spent the day after the accident and seeing the replay. pic.twitter.com/hoMgl1aoA5— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 29, 2020
While speaking to the media ahead of this weekend's race, Blaney admits he saw the crash footage just two minutes after he got out of the car, and wasn't sure how bad it really was at first.
"That happens, you lose the race by a foot, you get out of the car and then you see a replay of that — I was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Blaney said. "It was a big, big range of emotions within 10 minutes. It is tough to watch it. I don't want to see the in-car high speed camera. I don't want to see that."
Blaney, evidently uneasy over the moment, admitted it was "not comfortable to watch" on a personal level, and knows it is also tough for the other drivers as well.
"It is literally the worst place you can get hit with these cars," he said. "It proves a lot about the safety of them for that to happen and Ryan to be okay but there is still a lot we can do to keep these things on the ground and not get over and be in a position to get hit like that. It is definitely not comfortable to watch. I don't try to watch it."
"You have people that aren't even involved and have never even watched the sport that have their own opinion on bad things," he said. "The outreach I got from the calls from former drivers and current drivers that week was pretty remarkable. Their support was good."
Blaney adds that even though it was all "unintentional" and just a part of "racing," it takes a toll on a driver when it's off your own nose.
"You never wanna see anyone get hurt in this sport," he said. "We are all competitors but we are also a big family. Ryan [Newman] and I have gotten along really well, and that was just a bad circumstance, and it's great that it worked out for the best. It was nice to have the friends and family and drivers and teams support. That really helped me out."
Newman has since made a full recovery, but won't be returning to the track anytime soon. On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Newman's team, Roush Fenway Racing made the announcement of their driver's condition alongside a photo of the 42-year-old South Bend native walking out of Halifax Health Medical Center, holding the hands of his two daughters, Brooklyn Sage and Ashlyn Olivia, of whom he shares with recently separated, estranged wife, Krissie Newman.
Prior to Roush's update, his racing team had shared that Newman was up and walking around the hospital: "True to his jovial nature, he has also been joking around with staff, friends and family while spending time playing with his two daughters," they stated in a tweet.0comments
Newman crashed his No. 6 Ford after Blaney's vehicle hit his during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, causing him to spin out and strike a wall before going airborne and getting struck by another race car. Safety crews rushed immediately to help the NASCAR star, whose vehicle was slid upside-down on its driver's side.
Photo credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images