DAYTONA BEACH — Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday that driver Ryan Newman is awake and speaking with family and doctors after being involved in a scary wreck on the last lap of the Daytona 500 Monday.
Newman’s race team said he remains under the care of doctors at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.
“Ryan and his family have expressed their appreciation for the concern and heartfelt messages from across the country,” the team said in a statement. “They are grateful for the unwavering support of the NASCAR community and beyond.
The team said they will continue to provide information as it becomes available.
The 42-year-old was in the lead on the final lap when Denny Hamlin, who was in third, pushed Ryan Blaney in second. Blaney then caught the back bumper of Newman, pushing him hard into the wall. The 2008 winner of the Daytona 500 was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Drivers were stricken with concern, including a rattled Corey LaJoie, the driver who hit Newman’s car as it was flipping.
Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag, winning his second Daytona 500 in a row and third overall.
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are,” Hamlin said. “But number one, we are praying for Ryan.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs apologized after the race for the winning team celebration.
“We didn’t know until victory lane,” Gibbs said. “I know that for a lot of us, participating in sports and being in things where there are some risks, in a way, that’s what they get excited about. Racing, we know what can happen, we just dream it doesn’t happen. We are all just praying now for the outcome on this.”
The 62nd running of the “Great American Race” was postponed Sunday due to rain.
Runner-up Blaney said the way the final lap shook out, with Newman surging ahead of Hamlin, that Blaney got a push from Hamlin that locked him in behind Newman in a move of brand alliance for Ford.
“We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from the 11 … I was committed to just pushing him to the win and having a Ford win it and got the bumpers hooked up wrong,” he said. “It looked bad.”