Ryan Newman, leading the final lap of NASCAR’s Daytona 500, was involved in a fiery crash Monday that saw his car spin and go airborne, flipping several times.
FOX television commentators said Newman was removed and taken directly to a local hospital.
“Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center,” according to a statement posted on Twitter by Roush Fenway Racing. “He is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening.”
The 42-year-old racer is in his 19th full season in the NASCAR Cup series, according to his profile on the association’s website. He was the 2008 winner of the Daytona 500 and holds 18 Cup Series wins, according to the website.
Following Thursday’s Twin Duel Races, in which Newman finished third in his Koch Industries Ford, he said in a statement “the big one is on Sunday.”
Monday’s race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida was postponed from Sunday because of inclement weather.
“We had great execution by everybody at Ford to have a good, strong finish here,” Newman said in his statement after Thursday’s race. “I think we had the top four cars and it’s something to look forward to for the 500.”
Ford: ‘To hear positive news is a relief’
Following news of Newman’s update, Mark Rushbrook, the Ford Performance Motorsports global director, said the team was “grateful.”
“We had been waiting for information just like everyone else, so to hear some positive news tonight is a relief,” Rushbrook said in a statement. “Ryan has been an important part of the Roush Fenway and Ford NASCAR program this past year, and he is so respected for being a great competitor by everyone in the sport.”
“The entire Ford family is sending positive thoughts for his recovery, but our first thoughts remain with his family and his team.”
Denny Hamlin was named winner Monday, marking his third career win at “the Great American Race,” NASCAR’s marquee event and first race of the NASCAR Cup season.
This was the 62nd running of the race.
The crash comes almost 19 years to the day since seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. suffered a fatal crash on the final lap of the race, on February 18, 2001.
In an interview with reporters after Monday’s race, Hamlin called the accident the “worst-case scenario” in a race.
“We’re praying for the best. Ryan’s … a tough guy. We’re hoping that he comes out of this good.”
In a statement later Monday night, Hamlin said he had “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,” he said in a tweet.
Last week, Newman tweeted he would be separating from his wife, Krissie, after 16 years of marriage.
“We will continue to jointly raise our girls, while remaining friends and continuing to work together supporting Rescue Ranch,” he wrote, mentioning his animal welfare non-profit. “Thank you for the years of support and friendship. We ask that (our) daughters’ privacy be respected at this time.”