Roush Fenway Racing held a press conference Sunday morning (Feb. 23) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Here, Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark read a statement prepared by Ryan Newman in which he addressed his injuries for the first time publicly.
In the statement, Newman wrote that he sustained a head injury in his crash coming to the finish of the Daytona 500 on Monday. Now at home, Newman is still receiving treatment for that injury on an outpatient basis. However, he has no internal organ damage and no broken bones as a result of the crash.
Newmark didn’t go into any further details regarding Newman’s injuries during the press conference for multiple reasons. One reason was due to federal and state patient privacy laws, most notably the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The other is that Newman wants to be able to tell the full story himself in person.
He gave sincere thanks to everyone involved in his care after the crash. This includes the American Medical Response (AMR) Safety Team at the track and the medical team at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. that treated him afterwards.
So far, Newman’s recovery from the crash has been very good. As noted in one of Roush Fenway Racing’s updates when Newman was still in the hospital, he’s his usual, jovial self. His personality has not been impacted in any way from the crash. That said, there is no definitive time frame for Newman to return to the driver’s seat. As far as substitute driver Ross Chastain is concerned, Newmark described his commitment to the No. 6 team as, “if we need him, he should be available.”
Regardless of when Newman is cleared to return, he will have the No. 6 Ford Mustang waiting for him. He is also overwhelmed by the nationwide outpouring of emotion and support that he has received.
“I want to personally thank everyone, including the man upstairs, for their support, encouragement and the numerous offers of assistance,” Newman wrote in his statement. “We always say that the NASCAR community is one big family and never has that been more evident to me than after seeing this family rally together and provide the comfort and support that has been shown to my family and me over the past few days. The calls and visits from the NASCAR executives and my friends and competitors has been truly uplifting.”
Probably one of the biggest takeaways from the crash is that NASCAR’s rules for chassis construction have resulted in a fleet of extremely stout race cars on the track. Newman believes that he owes NASCAR and Roush Fenway Racing a debt of gratitude.
“I have to thank the guys back at the Roush Fenway Racing shop that built me a car not only fast enough to lead the final seconds of the Daytona 500, but strong enough to do its job under great distress, allowing me to survive such an accident,” Newman continued. “I am truly indebted to each of you and it is unlikely I will ever be able to properly express to you how much the diligent effort with which you conduct your craftsmanship has affected me and my family. I hope you took pride in the photograph of me walking out of the hospital hand-in-hand with my daughters on Wednesday. Thank you. I can’t wait to get back in your race car.”
Despite being stuck at home, Newman is trying his best to help from afar. Newmark revealed after the statement was read that Newman has been in touch with crew chief Scott Graves and Chastain as much as he can over the phone to help the team this weekend.
As of right now, Newman is not cleared to return to the track in any capacity. Once he is cleared, he will likely return to the track to help the team. He hopes to be back in the car soon, though. Once he is back in the car, he wants to get a waiver from NASCAR in order to try to qualify for this year’s playoffs. Despite Monday’s crash, Newman’s goal is still to win the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship and take home the newly-renamed Bill France Cup.
Given NASCAR’s use of waivers in the past for drivers who have missed races due to injury (most notably Kyle Busch in 2015), he would be likely to get one. However, he would still need to satisfy the requirements in order to qualify for the playoffs. That would include (at bare minimum) getting into the top 30 in points and winning a race.