Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin is celebrating fellow NASCAR driver Ryan Newman's release from the hospital after he was part of a scary crash in the final lap of Monday's big race that left him in "serious condition." Sharing a photo from Newman's Roush Fenway Racing of Newman leaving the hospital hand-in-hand with his daughters, Hamlin tweeted the hands up emoji alongside the racer's "Rocketman" nickname.
🙌🏼 Rocketman https://t.co/r7qQWQjo2S— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 19, 2020
Hamlin previously spoke out in support of Newman before it was determined that the driver would be walking away from his injuries, apologizing for celebrating after his big win in the wake of the crash.
"First [and] foremost I want to give well wishes and prayers to [Ryan Newman]," he wrote on Twitter at the time. "I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane. There's very little communication after the finish and i had already unhooked my radio. It's not anyone's fault. [Prayer hands] Rocket"
He elaborated on the end of the race the following day on Live With Kelly and Ryan, saying as they watched the clip back, "I didn't know really anything until we got to victory lane. I'm third right here, so I'm pushing the yellow car, I see them starting to get together and I get the last lunge at the start/finish line."
"I saw him come across me obviously but wrecks are so common at the end of these races anyway that you don't think anything about it," he said. "It's been so long since any serious injury. We just went about our business and then got informed at victory lane that it was something serious."
Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs apologized for his team, for which Hamlin drives, celebrating the win amid Newman's crash Monday. "So, I say to everybody out there, some people may have saw us and said, 'those guys are celebrating when there's a serious issue going on.' So I apologize to everybody, but we really didn't know," Gibbs said. "We got in the winner's circle, and then that's when people told us. I wanted to explain that to everyone. It makes it so hard. Such a close-knit community, you know everybody."
Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images