NASCAR Driver Ryan Newman Suffered Bruised Brain In Daytona Crash
It’s a big deal when one of NASCAR’s top drivers gets hurt in a crash. And it was especially big for Ryan Newman, who suffered a bruised brain in a Daytona crash that left him hospitalized and in “serious condition” two days after the race.
It was a terrifying moment for the 42-year-old, who had been struggling to win races since winning his first at Daytona in 2006. His car went airborne before being spun by Blaney from the lead coming to the checkered flag. The result was that Newman’s car slammed into the outside wall of Daytona International Speedway, spun back into traffic and then hit an oncoming car.
The crash was a reminder that cars are very fragile. But it also highlighted just how far NASCAR has come in its commitment to safety since Dale Earnhardt died in the same event 19 years ago, and how much work needs to be done to make the sport even safer for drivers and fans alike.
How he fought through the injury
Newman has always been an advocate for safer racing, but Monday night’s accident was an opportunity to really put it on the line. The driver, who graduated from Purdue with an engineering degree, was a vocal critic of the safety measures implemented after Earnhardt’s death and he had been arguing for better helmet technology in particular.
His helmet, made by Arai, was designed with a new type of carbon fiber that offers greater flexibility and durability while also increasing its impact absorption. Its crown area was reinforced with Zylon, a thermoset liquid-crystalline polyoxazole that is similar to Kevlar and has a tensile strength 1.6 times that of Kevlar. It’s been used in Formula 1 since 2001 to help prevent wheels from becoming projectiles during crashes and is now being incorporated into other sports, including NASCAR.
He wore that helmet in the 500, and he says it was a big part of his survival. He also credited the work of track safety crews, the sturdy roll cage design of his No. 6 Ford and a new style of helmet that he had been using for the first time, which is designed to be both more durable and flexible.
Despite the injuries he suffered, Newman was able to recover quickly and walk out of the hospital. He missed three races during his recovery, but NASCAR eventually cleared him for the West Coast Swing races and he returned to competition.
But he still doesn’t have a full memory of what happened that night. Fortunately, Newman has been able to use some of the computerized analysis tools that have been used to reconstruct plane and boat crashes.
It’s a process that uses every piece of data collected from the accident, including video, to create a virtual simulation of the crash. Once the simulation has been done, it’s re-created countless times to make sure that everything has been taken into account.
Once it’s all done, Newman has a clearer idea of how he was able to get out of his hospital bed and walk away without any serious injuries. It took a couple of days for him to recover from his injury, but he was able to go home and resume his life as an engineer and a racer.