Ryan Newman was involved in a crash during the final lap of the Daytona 500 on Monday, sending his car flipping into the air. Newman was rushed to Halifax Medical Center where he is currently being treated.
Late Monday, Newman was in serious condition with non life-threatening injuries, his racing team said in a statement. Roush Fenway Racing provided an update on the driver's condition Tuesday, saying he is "awake and speaking with family and doctors." The team also expressed their "appreciation for the concern and heartfelt messages from across the country," adding they will "continue to provide information as it becomes available."
Newman was leading the race when he was hit from behind by Ryan Blaney. The impact sent Newman's Ford into the outer wall, causing it to flip over and skid along the track on its roof for some distance. The vehicle was then struck by another car, sending it up into the air. Newman eventually skidded to a halt while sparks, smoke and flames could be seen coming from the vehicle.
It took emergency crews several minutes to get the car upright and remove Newman. He was wheeled into an ambulance and immediately taken to a local hospital, Fox NASCAR analysts Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy said.
"Dang I hope Newman is ok," Corey LaJoie, the driver whose vehicle struck Newman's after the initial crash, said on Twitter. "That is worst case scenerio and I had nowhere to go but smoke."
Denny Hamlin ended up winning the race, which was originally scheduled to take place Sunday, but wasdue to rain. This is Hamlin's second Daytona 500 win in a row and third overall.
Team owner and former Washington Redskin's coach apologized for celebrating the victory, saying none of them realized how serious the crash was at the time.
"I just apologize for everybody and say, I think it was everybody in here, we're celebrating, you see a wreck but you don't really realize how serious it was," Gibbs said from victory lane.
Later Monday night, Hamlin tweeted a similar explanation for why he and his team went on celebrating the victory despite the crash.
"First a foremost I want to give well wishes and prayers to @RyanJNewman," Hamlin tweeted. "I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane. There's very little communication after the finish and i had already unhooked my radio. It's not anyone's fault. 🙏 Rocket."