DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Newman flipped across the finish line, his Ford planted upside down and engulfed in flames, a grim reminder of a sport steeped in danger that has stretched nearly two decades without a fatality.
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.”
At the finish line, Denny Hamlin made history with a second straight Daytona 500 victory in an an overtime photo finish over Ryan Blaney, a celebration that quickly became muted as word of Newman’s wreck spread.
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are,” Hamlin said. “But number one, we are praying for Ryan.”
NASCAR scrapped the traditional victory lane party for Hamlin's third Daytona 500 victory, rocked by Newman's accident 19 years after Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was the last driver killed in a NASCAR Cup Series race.