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Ryan Newman leaves hospital after terrifying crash on final lap of Daytona 500

Ryan Newman leaves the hospital

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman has been released Wednesday from the hospital days after a terrifying crash during the final lap of Daytona 500. His racing team, Roush Fenway Racing, posted a photo of the 42-year-old with his daughters leaving the medical center where he was treated.

The crash on Monday left Newman with serious injuries. Earlier Wednesday, his team said he continued "to show great improvement."

Roush Fenway also said that Newman "has also been joking around with staff, friends and family while playing with his two daughters." An earlier tweet included a photo of Newman in a hospital gown with his daughters.

Newman was leading Monday's 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 nearly 20 minutes to get the car upright and remove Newman. He was wheeled into an ambulance and rushed to the Halifax Medical Center.

"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."

Ryan Newman crash — NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500
Ryan Newman #6 Koch Industries Ford flips over. Jared C. Tilton/Getty

Denny Hamlin ended up winning the race, which was originally scheduled to take place Sunday but was postponed due to rain. This is Hamlin's second Daytona 500 win in a row and third overall.

The extent of Newman's injuries wasn't made clear and the team hasn't announced who will drive the No. 6 Ford this weekend in Vegas, according to The Associated Press.

Since Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s death in 2001, drivers now have an upgraded seatbelt and harness system, fire retardant suits and new, more crash absorbent walls have replaced concrete around the perimeter of every track.

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