Denny Hamlin captured his third victory at the Daytona 500 and his second straight on Monday, but all eyes were focused on Ryan Newman and his health following a scary crash late in the race. In the lead at the time, Newman's car flipped and caught on fire. He needed to be transported by an ambulance to Halifax Medical Center.
Newman's status has since been updated with a statement put out by NASCAR that said he in "serious condition" but that his injuries are "not life threatening."
After celebrating his win, which was viewed as distasteful by viewers and even drew an apology from owner Joe Gibbs, Hamlin reacted to the news regarding Newman.
"Obviously I saw him cross the race track," began Hamlin, who noted that he learned of what had happened as he was walking over to victory lane. "I didn't see the contact that the other car had when he was in the air. That's kind of a worse case scenario you can possibly have.
Hamlin added, "We're praying for the best."
In regards to Hamlin and his team's celebration, the jubilation didn't go over well with viewers. Gibbs ended up making a public apology where he explained that they had not known about the severity of Newman's condition until afterwards.
"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 shared. "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."
Not much was known about Newman's condition until a few hours afterwards when the first official statement came in.
The statement released by NASCAR and Roush Fenway wrapped up by saying, "We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and ask that you respect the privacy of Ryan and his family during this time," the statement read, in part. "We appreciate your patience and cooperation and we will provide more information when it becomes available."
As soon as his status was updated, many of his fans took to social media to express their gratitude that their prayers were answered.
"Thank god," one user responded on Twitter. "Racing aside I'm just glad he gets to live for his kids. To hell with ever driving a race car again."