NASCAR driver Ryan Newman announced that he suffered a head injury during a frightening crash at the Daytona 500 last week, but plans to return this season to compete for a championship.
Steve Newmark, the president of Roush Fenway Racing, read a statement provided by Newman ahead of Sunday's NASCAR race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"I was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones," Newman said in his statement. "I did sustain a head injury for which I’m currently being treated. The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days.
“Again, I want to thank each of you, from my partners, teammates and competitors and each and every fan across the country."
Newman, 42, was released from a Florida hospital on Feb. 19, just two days after he was involved in a fiery crash at the Daytona 500 in which his car went airborne on the final lap.
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He had taken the lead on the final lap when driver Ryan Blaney clipped the back of Newman's No. 6 Ford Mustang, sending it into a wild spin and causing it to flip upside down. Driver Corey LaJoie then slammed into Newman's car and sent it airborne. It skidded across the finish line on its roof in a hail of sparks and flames.
Less than 48 hours later, Newman was pictured walking out of the hospital holding hands with his two young daughters in a tweet posted by Roush Fenway Racing.
"I want to personally thank everyone, including the man upstairs, for their support, encouragement and the numerous offers of assistance," he said in his statement Sunday.
The Indiana native was also grateful to his racing team for building a car that kept him safe during the catastrophic crash.
"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," he said.
"It was looking like it was going to be a storybook race for us, and a great start to the season, and all that changed in an instant,'' Newman's statement said. "And we go from not caring about the race, not caring about the competition. In fact, I'm not sure we knew who had actually won the race until a few hours later because the whole focus was on Ryan's safety and well-being.”
Ross Chastain filled in for Newman in the No. 6 car at Sunday's race in Las Vegas. He spun out with six laps to go and finished in 27th place.
Newman said he plans to return this season.
"I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford,'' he said.