ENGLEWOOD, Colo (KDVR) — NASCAR driver Ryan Newman has been treated and released from a Florida hospital after a dramatic crash in Monday’s Daytona 500.
Newman was on the final lap of “The Great American Race” when he was sent spinning into the wall before going airborne toward the finish line.
“I was very, very concerned,” says Shawn Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Race Cars in Englewood.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh, the roof has collapsed almost down to the top of the door,'” he said.
Newman was taken to a hospital and released Wednesday.
Kennedy says the flames and tumbles, while dramatic, were not his biggest concern.
“These cars can tumble a whole bunch, and the driver stays inside the little capsule,” he said. “A lot of people were concerned about the fire, but we wear expensive flame-retardant fire suits. I wasn’t concerned about the fire getting him. I was concerned about the impact loads of the car tumbling and being hit while it was airborne on the roof line.”
Safety has been a major concern for NASCAR, especially following the death of Dale Earnhardt.
Kennedy says Earnhardt was not wearing a head-and-neck restraint, which is now required to race.
“Ryan Newman would not have survived 10, 20 years ago. No way,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also says a padded wall likely helped slow Newman down.
“The standards and requirements get stiffer and harder every year. For a reason, we want the people to live,” Kennedy said.