March 11 (UPI) — NASCAR driver Ryan Newman said the “angels aligned” to help him survive a scary crash at the Daytona 500. He also said during an interview Wednesday on Today that he plans to return to racing as soon as he can.
Newman, 42, has not returned to his race car since the Feb. 17 crash at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“There are so many levels of [safety measures] that have happened in the last 20 years I have been in the sport that helped me be able to sit here today,” Newman told Today. “There were lots of things that happened that aligned.
“The angels aligned. They had a really good grip with their hands.”
Newman’s No. 6 Ford was leading the Daytona 500 when he was bumped into a wall by Ryan Blaney near the finish line. Newman’s car flipped several times and scraped the asphalt, throwing sparks through the air.
Corey LaJoie then came flying in through smoke and slammed into Newman’s car at full speed, sending the Ford over the finish line while on its roof.
Newman was rushed to a local hospital after sustaining a head injury. He was released from the hospital on Feb. 19.
“It’s humbling to watch [the wreck] and know that I’m sitting here without a headache,” Newman said. “It’s just a miracle on so many levels.”
Newman did not break any bones and avoided internal organ damage in the wreck. He said doctors told him he had a brain bruise. He said he was knocked out and doesn’t remember part of the race.
“It’s emotional,” Newman said. “I think about the fact that I was that close [to winning],” Newman said. “But really, in the end I’m really humbled by the opportunity to continue my life and to be blessed by so many people’s prayers to be sitting here.”
Newman said the way his car was hit and the way his car was constructed also kept him safe.
The NASCAR veteran has 18 Cup Series victories. The 2002 Rookie of the Year also has seven Xfinity Seris wins and one win in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. He said his love for NASCAR is the reason he will return to the sport.
“I don’t know [when I’ll be back] yet,” Newman said of plan to return to NASCAR. “We’re working on it. As soon as I possibly can.”
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is next on the Cup Series schedule. That race starts at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.