I will never forget this year's Daytona 500. There I was, in the living room watching a relatively calm race on TV, and then all hell broke loose. When Ryan Newman was in his accident, I truly thought the worst- that I, and millions of people, had just watched him die on national television. I was shaking. I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't believe what I had just watched. I thought "NO WAY could he walk away from that." And as I scoured around online the rest of the night looking for an update, ANY update, I was still in shock. The lack of information made it worse, as though to confirm my worst fears. And then I finally read an update from his team that he was going to be OK. I have never breathed such a sigh of relief!
Miraculously, just a few short days later, he made the now-infamous walk out of the hospital in Daytona holding the hands of his daughters. Once again, I had tears in my eyes, but this time, they were tears of joy. EXTREME joy! I mean, not only did he survive one of the most horrific crashes in NASCAR history, but just a few days later, he was WALKING OUT OF THE HOSPITAL as though nothing ever happened!
Wow! Ryan Newman must be superhuman! Or maybe NASCAR's safety innovations are truly that good. Or maybe a little bit of both...
Newman has been relatively quiet over the last few weeks since the accident, and then this past weekend, pictures surfaced of him at the race track at Phoenix. Another great sight! He didn't race at Phoenix, but to see him walking through the garage with that Newman smile was pretty cool! And then this morning, the great sights just kept on coming as he stopped by to be a guest on the Today Show. It was incredible to see him in such good spirits. And while any driver and race fan knows that there is an inherit risk every time a driver straps in to a car, I think we can all breathe an additional sigh of relief knowing that NASCAR's safety advances are pretty damn spectacular. To think about his accident, to watch him walk out of the hospital so quickly after, to see him smiling and joking on the Today Show this morning, and then to know that he is itching to get back into a race car...that speaks volumes of both NASCAR's safety and his fortitude. Pretty incredible!
Thumbnail image: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman poses for a portrait during the NASCAR Production Photo Days at Charlotte Convention Center on January 29, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images