Ryan Newman Reveals Why He Wants to Continue NASCAR Racing Despite Scary Daytona 500 Crash

Ryan Newman appeared on the Today show on Wednesday, March 11, just under one month after he was involved in a scary crash during this year's Daytona 500. During his visit, Newman reflected on the dangerous crash and discussed his plans to race again, explaining why he'll be back on the racetrack.

When asked "Why would you get back in the car, why not just retire at 42?" Newman responded, "I love it," joking "'Cause I'm just 42 right?"

"Really, I love it," he continued. "It’s been a little bit painful to be out of the race car and to not be doing what I’ve done for so many years." The driver explained that he began racing at 4 years old, "so it's just kind of who I am."

During the Daytona 500, Newman's No. 6 Ford was tapped by driver Ryan Blaney's car. Newman's vehicle spun out of control and flew through the air, flipping several times before hitting the wall, where it was hit on its driver's side at full speed by driver Corey LaJoie's vehicle. That impact caused the Ford to skid down the track on its roof while on fire. Newman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and was released two days later.

Newman had previously been involved in multiple crashes and in 2009, the driver lobbied NASCAR to increase protection for its drivers, and a bar was added to the window of the Gen6 COT that is referred to as the "Newman Bar." Savannah Guthrie noted during Wednesday's interview that Newman had been a safety advocate in the sport, though the driver made sure to credit others who had also been working to keep drivers safe.

"It's not just me, there's a whole group at NASCAR who's done a great job, from the tracks to the safety personnel, the drivers inside the cars, the cockpits, the containment seats that we have, there's so many levels of things that happened in the last 20 years I've been a part of the sport that helped me to be able to sit here today," Newman said.

He also reflected on "what went right" in the crash that did allow him to walk away unscathed.

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"Just where I was kind of hit, so to speak, the cage was compromised, all those welds held together, so those guys in the shop did an amazing job," he shared. "All the things that happened that kept me here — I got hit from behind by a car going 190 miles an hour, and it pushed me back but then he pushed me forward. His car actually hit my seat, so it's just lots of things that happened that aligned. The angels aligned, held a really good grip with their hands."

Photo Credit: Today