Ryan Newman released from hospital after Daytona 500 crash

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Ryan Newman 'fully alert and walking around' after Daytona 500 crash
Ryan Newman 'fully alert and walking around' after Daytona 500 final lap crash

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- NASCAR racer Ryan Newman has been released from the hospital just two days after a violent crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500 on Monday night.

His wife, Krissie Newman, tweeted video of her husband leaving the hospital and holding his two daughters' hands, calling it the "best sight ever."

Hours before, he took a sweet photo with his girls at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where he was treated.

"True to his jovial nature, he has also been joking around with staff, friends and family while spending time playing with his two daughters," Roush Fenway Racing team posted to Twitter.

Toward the closing moments of NASCAR's season-opening race, Newman flipped across the finish line, his Ford planted upside down and on fire. It served as a grim reminder of a sport steeped in danger that has stretched nearly two decades without a fatality.

At the finish line, Denny Hamlin made history with a second straight Daytona 500 victory in an overtime photo finish over Ryan Blaney, a celebration that quickly became muted as drivers awaited an update on Newman's condition.

"I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are," Hamlin said. "But number one, we are praying for Ryan."

Roughly two hours after the crash, NASCAR read a statement from Roush Fenway Racing that said Newman is in "serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening."

During the long wait for an update, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his concern. Trump a day earlier attended the race as the grand marshal, gave the command for drivers to start their engines and made a ceremonial pace lap around Daytona International Speedway before rain washed out the race.

"Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCAR driver! #PrayingForRyan," Trump tweeted. Newman was one of several NASCAR drivers who attended a 2016 rally for Trump in Georgia when he was a presidential candidate.

NASCAR scrapped the traditional victory lane party for Hamlin's third Daytona 500 victory, rocked by Newman's accident 19 years after Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was the last driver killed in a NASCAR Cup Series race.

RELATED: Dale Earnhardt crash 19 years ago during Daytona 500 led to driver safety improvements

Newman had surged into the lead on the final lap when Blaney's bumper caught the back of his Ford and sent Newman hard right into the wall. His car flipped, rolled, was hit on the driver's side by another car, and finally skidded across the finish line in flames.

It took several minutes for his car to be rolled back onto its wheels. Medical personnel used solid black barriers to block the view as the 2008 Daytona 500 winner was placed in a waiting ambulance and taken to a hospital. The damage to his Mustang was extensive - it appeared the entire roll cage designed to protect his head had caved - and officials would not allow his team near the accident site.