Ryan Newman has barrel rolled his way through many terrifying crashes in his 20-year NASCAR career. This one, though, caused the sport to pause. Newman slid across the finish line in a crumpled heap of metal, with sparks flying as his car skidded to a halt and fuel pouring onto the track frighteningly close to the flames. Fans gasped as track workers placed large, black screens around Newman’s car and worked to get him out. They had to wait two hours to exhale.
The 42-year-old Newman was involved in a scary crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500 on Monday, and everyone feared the worst. NASCAR has not had a fatality in its elite Cup Series since 2001, but this wreck looked different. After two hours, NASCAR announced that Newman had non-life-threatening injuries and was in serious condition at Halifax Medical Center.
Ryan Blaney, who locked bumpers with Newman and turned him sideways, sounded crestfallen afterward. Corey LaJoie, who slammed into Newman’s sideways car at full speed, watched a replay and insisted that he had no way to avoid contact. Fox Sports analyst and four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon might have summed it up best.
Denny Hamlin won his third Daytona 500 on Monday, becoming the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win “The Great American Race” in consecutive seasons. Hamlin’s margin of victory of 0.014 seconds over Ryan Blaney was the second closest in race history, after only Hamlin’s win over Martin Truex Jr. in 2016. That margin of victory was 0.01 seconds.