Only a day had passed the first time Ryan Newman watched video from the Daytona 500 crash that ended with the 42-year-old dangling upside down from his seatbelts.
“I had to make myself believe what I went through,” said Newman, an 18-time NASCAR winner, speaking Thursday about his return Sunday at Darlington. “I feel like a complete walking miracle.”
Newman, who finished 15th in the 2019 standings, said he has no memory of the Feb. 17 crash at Daytona.
Everything is blank between the moments prior to the violent crash — when he slammed into the barrier wall and was tagged by the car of Corey LaJoie — and Newman seeing his children from a hospital bed.
“That tells me God was involved,” he said.
“I’ve felt completely normal in the last eight weeks, but that doesn’t mean that I was.”
Doctors placed Newman in a medically induced coma following the last lap crash, and he had a peripherally inserted central catheter placed in his chest.
Newman was diagnosed with a brain bruise but credited the use of a new carbon fiber helmet with flexibility to absorb high impact from preventing any greater physical damage. He had no other major injuries and walked out of the hospital holding the hands of his two daughters two days later.
An engineering grad at Purdue, Newman remains involved in the post-race crash analysis conducted by NASCAR. That includes reviewing the crash from every possible angle, including the in-car monitors.
“Everything aligned perfectly for me to be alive and here with you today,” he said. “There were multiple miracles that aligned for me to walk out days later with my arms around my daughters.”
Newman has no restrictions during NASCAR’s hectic schedule ahead — four races in 11 days starting with Sunday afternoon in South Carolina — and isn’t planning on looking back.
“Sunday at Darlington is going to be a huge opportunity for us to reach millions of people,” he said. “We are all going to work really hard to make the best of it. … I’m hoping to do every lap and then one more after that.”
–Field Level Media