Ryan Newman had his first scheduled interview Wednesday morning on NBC’s “The Today Show,” in which he said his head injury is “basically like a bruised brain.”
“It takes time for it to heal,” said Newman. “I was knocked out. There was a point where I don’t remember a part of the race, and realistically I feel so lucky. On so many levels, I feel so lucky.
“You look at the crash and you think that’s spectacular in a bad way, but if you look at the car afterward you think of all the things that happened right for me to be sitting here.”
The Roush Fenway Racing driver spent about five minutes on the show with hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Craig Melvin discussing his last-lap accident in the Feb. 17 Daytona 500. The segment started with a replay of Newman’s car being turned into the outside wall, sent airborne, and being hit by Corey LaJoie in the driver’s side door.
Newman was taken from his car and transported straight to Halifax Medical Center. Initially listed in critical condition with non-life threatening injuries, Newman was alert the following day and walked out of the hospital that Wednesday afternoon.
When seeing the replay of the accident, Newman said it’s still humbling to watch.
“And to know that I’m sitting here without a headache, which is amazing,” he said. “Just a miracle on so many levels.”
Of what went right in the crash, Newman said, “Just where I was kind of hit, so to speak. The cage was compromised. All those welds held together, so the guys in the shop did an amazing job. All the things that happened that kept me here. I got hit from behind by a car going 190 miles an hour, and it pushed me back, but then he [LaJoie] pushed me forward.
“His car actually hit my seat. Just a lot of things that happened that aligned. The angels aligned and held a really good grip with their hands.”
The 2008 winner of the Daytona 500 said it’s been painful not to be in the car. Ross Chastain has driven the No. 6 Ford Mustang for the last three weeks and is again entered for the team this weekend at Atlanta. There is no timetable for Newman’s return.
“I don’t know yet,” said Newman. “We’re working on it. As soon as I possibly can.”