Nearly a month after Ryan Newman's wreck in the Daytona 500, the veteran driver is hoping to get back behind the wheel "as soon" as he can. Newman addressed the lingering question on NASCAR fans' minds regarding his return to the sport when sitting down with TODAY on Wednesday for his first interview since the accident, promising that while he doesn't "know yet" when he will return, "we're still working on it."
The 42-year-old driver, who won a previous Daytona 500 in 2008, had been in the lead during the final lap of the race when his No. 6 vehicle was bumped from behind by fellow racer Ryan Blaney. The contact sent Newman spinning out of control, eventually going airborne and hitting the wall before hit on the driver's side by another vehicle. His vehicle skidded down the track on its roof while on fire.
Although he did not suffer any broken bones or internal injuries, he did suffer a head injury, which Newman explained Wednesday as "basically like a bruised brain" that "just takes time for it to heal." He added that he was "knocked out" during the crash, and as a result of the injury, "there was a point where I don't remember a part of the race."
Ever since being given the all clear and walking out of Halifax Medical Center less than 48 hours after fans watched blinders being put up around the crash site, the question of when and if Newman will again get behind the wheel has lingered.
In a statement released shortly after the accident, Roush Fenway Racing said that there was "no timetable" for his return. At the time, it was also announced that fellow driver Ross Chastain would be filling in for Newman at the Pennzoil 400 that weekend.
In his own statement, Newman expressed his desire to return to racing sometime soon.
"I've spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the #6 car will be waiting and ready for my return," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford."
Expanding on that, Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark later revealed that Newman hopes to race again in 2020 and win a Cup Series championship.
"Ryan's objectives have not changed this year. His goal is to win the 2020 Cup Championship,""he said. "Ryan wants to figure out how he can get back here, get that waiver, win a race and get into the playoffs."