The Newman Miracle Back On Track At Darlington

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 15 2020

Ryan Newman, who was involved in a horrific wreck at Daytona in February, left the hospital with his daughters just days afterward. He will be back in a car for the first time this weekend at Darlington. (File photo courtesy of Roush Fenway Racing)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – Ryan Newman doesn’t remember much about this year’s Daytona 500 and he possesses no recollection of his horrifying crash that occurred just shy of the checkered flag. His memory begins with his arms around his daughters and the three of them walking out of Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., together. 

Newman is the first to call his ability to leave the hospital a few days after his terrifying accident the result of “multiple miracles.”

“Everything aligned in so many ways,” Newman said Thursday. “They always say things happen for a reason and this year was the year.  

“It’s only the fourth race I had on a brand new style of helmet – it’s a carbon fiber zero helmet that I was wearing – the second time I’d worn it in Cup competition. The safety workers, the personnel that were involved, that were inside the car with me, spent time with me during and after the crash, every layer of it there was multiple miracles – big miracles and little miracles, in my opinion – that aligned for me to be able to walk out days later with my hands around my daughters and to be thankful.”

On Sunday at Darlington Raceway, Newman returns to NASCAR Cup competition in the Real Heroes 400. It’s only fitting that the 42-year-old Indiana native climbs back into his No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford at his favorite track. He tested at the 1.366-mile historical speedway before NASCAR signed off on his return. That test day Newman was excited and harbored no apprehensions about stepping back into the race car. 

Ryan Newman is back. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

“I’ve been working really hard to do the things that I needed to do test-wise to pass my concussion test and protocol and things like that, so I could be down there with my team and Dr. (Jerry) Petty to establish the fact that I felt well and could prove it and I was well behind the seat of the race car,” said Newman, who suffered a bruised brain. “The track was really green and was really fast. My first five laps of my 20-lap run were quicker than the pole-winning car from last fall, so I can handle the speed.”

Throughout Newman’s recovery, his desire for a Cup championship never waned. Still, he’s different because of his experience. He knows his survival was due to 20 years of safety research and development in all forms of motorsports; a desire by those to make the tracks, walls, cockpit and seat safer.

“I am the net result or at least I feel like I am,” Newman said. “It’s the net effort of everybody in auto racing that, I think, contributed up to that day.”  

  Newman remembers nothing from his hospital stay due to the medication, which kept him in “somewhat of a medically-induced coma.”   

“I couldn’t tell you who came to visit me,” Newman continued. “I couldn’t tell you who was in the room, but I do remember putting my arms around my daughters’ chests and walking out and holding their hands as I did that, and that tells me that God was involved. That tells me that I was blessed in more ways than one, and makes me so thankful for what I went through and being able to have the people around me that I love and trust afterwards. I don’t even know how to describe it more than that. I feel like a complete walking miracle.”

(Editor’s note: Deb Williams is in her fourth decade of covering motorsports. The former editor of NASCAR Winston Cup Scene and managing editor of GT Motorsports has also covered auto racing for United Press International, USA Today and The Charlotte Observer. The 1990 and 1996 National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year has authored five books and hosts the podcast “Racing Now and Then.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 15 2020
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