Newman ‘awake and speaking’ after fiery Daytona crash

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Newman was hospitalized in serious condition after a terrifying crash at Daytona International Speedway during the final lap.

Ryan Newman (6) goes airborne after crashing into Corey LaJoie (32) during the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Sunday's running of the race was postponed by rain. (Source: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

According to the Associated Press, safety workers rolled his car back onto its wheels before he was removed. Newman was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

It took nearly two hours for NASCAR to announce Newman did not have life-threatening injuries.

A statement released Tuesday said that he “remains under the care of doctors" and he “is awake and speaking with family and doctors.”

The series did not disclose the exact nature of his injuries.

Newman is a 42-year-old NASCAR veteran.

Denny Hamlin won his third Daytona 500 and was an immediate afterthought.

“After a few minutes in there we were celebrating and then the word came to us, so I think for all of us and everybody in the racing community, the NASCAR community, we’re all praying for Ryan and certainly he’s got our prayers going with him," Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, told WBTV. “Everybody’s traveling and everybody’s concerned about it, so we’ll continue to pray and hopefully we get a good report.”

Hamlin was criticized for celebrating his second consecutive Daytona 500 win. He says he was unaware Newman was injured.

Hamlin became the first back-to-back Daytona winner since Sterling Marlin in 1995.

The race was held Monday after it was postponed for just the second time in 62 years. It started to rain Sunday moments after President Donald Trump took a ceremonial pace lap on the track in the presidential limousine.

The last time the 500 was postponed was 2012.

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