His wife, Krissie, posted black and white video of the same scene, and wrote “Busting out!!!”
Newman joined his friend and fellow driver, Martin Truex Jr., at Daytona. Although there were no updates or details on the injuries he sustained in the crash, Truex pointed out that he “hasn’t lost his sense of humor.”
Sherry Pollex, Truex’s girlfriend, tweeted an image of the friends together again in a motor home at the track and tweeted that Newman “said Sher, now we have one more thing in common. Neither of us are supposed to be alive but we’re both here. You damn right my friend. #GodissoGood.” Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014.
Newman was released from the hospital shortly after Roush Fenway, for whom Newman drives, had shared another image of the driver, grinning in a hospital gown, his arms draped around daughters Brooklyn and Ashlyn. The race team noted that the 42-year-old “continues great improvement” after his terrifying wreck on the final lap of Monday’s race. Newman, who was taken from the crash to Halifax Medical Center, showed no obvious signs of injury and was described as being “fully alert and walking around” by Roush Fenway, an almost inconceivable update after the fiery wreck.
“True to his jovial nature, he has also been joking around with staff, friends and family while spending time playing with his two daughters,” it said in a statement.
“Ryan continues to express his appreciation for the outpouring of support from across the country, and he and his family are grateful for the immense level of support that has been provided by the NASCAR community and beyond.”
Krissie Newman, who announced last week that she and Newman were separating after 16 years of marriage, also shared that image. Later Wednesday, Newman’s team president tweeted an image of Newman and his girls with Halifax medical personnel, writing, “We owe a debt of gratitude to many people for what transpired over the last few days, but a special thanks to the incredible care and attention from the staff.”
It was an uplifting end to a tense stretch of time. Updates on Newman’s condition had been scarce, and an agonizing amount of time went by after he was taken from the track by ambulance before he was officially confirmed to be alive. On Tuesday, Roush Fenway said only that he was “awake and speaking with family and doctors,” which at least provided some cause for relief for NASCAR fans and others worried about his condition.
“Ryan Newman remains under the care of doctors at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is awake and speaking with family and doctors,” the team said in its Tuesday statement.
Newman was leading the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most iconic race and the season-opening event for its top circuit, in the final turn when he was contacted from behind by a car driven by Ryan Blaney. Newman’s car veered sideways, hit a wall, flipped and then went airborne when it was struck by another trailing driver’s car.
Denny Hamlin edged Blaney for the win, but while he celebrated his second straight Daytona 500 triumph, Newman needed personnel at Daytona International Speedway to extinguish flames from his car and extricate him from the badly damaged vehicle.
Hamlin, who did doughnuts in his car before driving to Victory Lane, was criticized for his seemingly callous display. His racing team’s owner, Joe Gibbs, apologized for the celebration while they were still in Victory Lane and explained at a post-race news conference, as did Hamlin later on Twitter, that the 39-year-old driver was initially unaware of the severity of Newman’s crash.
Meanwhile, other NASCAR drivers expressed major concern for Newman immediately after the race. Corey LaJoie, the trailing driver who sent Newman airborne, described it as the “worst case scenario,” while Matt DiBenedetto tweeted, “Praying hard that Newman is ok. Watching that replay made me sick to my stomach.”
“I hope he’s all right. That looked really bad, and it’s not something I wanted to do,” said Blaney, who claimed at the time that he was trying to give a fellow Ford driver in Newman a push toward the finish line ahead of Hamlin, who drives a Toyota. “It definitely wasn’t intentional.”
Compounding the worst fears of drivers and fans were memories of Dale Earnhardt Sr., a legendary NASCAR driver who died in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
It wasn’t until about two hours after this year’s race ended that Roush Fenway Racing issued a statement saying that Newman was “in serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening.”
That news was hailed in the NASCAR community and beyond, and Tuesday’s update provided an occasion for reflective comments from a pair of prominent drivers.
Seven-time Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson, who raced in his final Daytona 500 on Monday, posted a photo of himself and Newman and wrote in a caption, “Ryan and I were in the same rookie class with big dreams in a big sport. Turns out we both have had long successful careers, a lot of laughs together, started families and even won some trophies.
“Yesterday was a reminder how dangerous racing can be. I’m so thankful he is okay.”
“Last night was one of those moments in racing we pray never happens and puts what we do in perspective,” 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano wrote on Twitter. “Thankful to hear the encouraging update on [Newman] from his team. Continued thoughts and prayers for him, his family and all involved.”