Ryan Newman's head injury obtained from a fiery crash during the final lap of the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 has left the NASCAR driver unable to remember a portion of the race altogether. During a Tuesday appearance on TODAY Show, Newman opened up about his traumatic experience and subsequent recovery, explaining he was diagnosed with "basically like a bruised brain."
"It just takes time for it to heal," he said of his recovery, having been released from the hospital just days after the crash. Newman added he feels "lucky" to walk away from the crash with gaps in his memory from the day, but otherwise unharmed.
"I was knocked out — there was a point where i don't remember a part of the race," he explained. "Realistically, I just feel so lucky. On so many levels, I feel so lucky."
He continued, "You look at the crash you think, that's spectacular in a bad way. But you look at the car afterwards, you think of all he things that went right for me to be sitting here."
Newman went on to thank his friends, fans and racing colleagues for supporting him in the time following the crash.
"The outpouring of emotion from not only the NASCAR community, but across the country, has been truly humbling," Newman said. "I want to personally thank everyone including the Man upstairs for their support, encouragement and the numerous offers of assistance."
Newman also addressed questions about his comeback, having taken time off from racing as he recovers fully from his head injury.
"I've spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the No. 6 car will be waiting and ready for my return," Newman said. "I'm looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford."
Last week, Newman told reporters at the FanShield 500 that there was no exact timeline for his return to the track.
"I have no idea about anything," Newman said about his comeback. "I'm here as a spectator, have some fun. ... I'm really here to support the [No.] 6 team, stay integrated with what I can do with the team."
Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton, Getty