As Ryan Newman begins his road to recovery in the hospital following the devastating crash during Monday's Daytona 500 final lap, many people are still wondering how Newman who looked to be the race's likely winner ended up seriously injured. NASCAR fans know well that drafting, blocking and bumping are all normal parts of the sport, but at speeds of around 200 mph, even the smallest error can end in disaster.
That appears to be what happened when fellow driver Ryan Blaney pushed in on Newman's car during the final lap after being shoved into a small wobble by eventual Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. While Blaney was able to straighten out from the bump, trying to make his move around Newman, the Ford driver appears to have shifted to block the move and gotten hit, causing his car to turn right, slamming into the barrier and flipping onto its roof before landing on the side. Corey LaJoie's car then hit Newman's vehicle, crushing the driver's side and sending it into the air again before landing on its roof and skidding past the finish line.
"I thought I was pretty square, but I just got him to the right," Blaney told reporters after the race, as per USA Today. "I hope he's all right. That looked really bad, and it's not something I wanted to do. It definitely wasn't intentional."
Blaney continued, visibly shaken, "Even though it's unintentional, you don't want to hurt anybody. I'm just waiting to see if he's OK."
After being extricated from the wreck, Newman was rushed to the hospital. Tuesday evening, Newman's racing team revealed that he was now "awake and speaking" in the latest health update on the driver.
"Ryan Newman remains under the care of doctors at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is awake and speaking with family and doctors," the statement read.
"Ryan and his family have expressed their appreciation for the concern and heartfelt messages from across the country. They are grateful for the unwavering support of the NASCAR community and beyond."
Photo credit: Mike Ehrmann / Staff / Getty