NASCAR driver Ryan Newman has been hospitalized in serious condition after a horrific high-speed crash at the Daytona 500 as President Trump sent well-wishes to the injured racer.
Newman was fighting for the lead against Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney when his No. 6 Ford slammed into the wall, then flipped up and over during the final lap of the race in Florida.
President Donald Trump offered prayers to Newman, who he called “a great and brave Nascar driver.”
“Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCAR driver! #PrayingForRyan,” Trump tweeted.
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg offered his sympathies to the 42-year-old racer, who is a native of the South Bend mayor’s town in Indiana.
“Praying for a son of South Bend tonight, as we all wish the best for @RyanJNewman and his family after today’s devastating accident.”
Although Hamlin eventually won the race, his celebration quickly turned into a cause for concern as emergency crews rushed to remove Newman from the car.
“The finish, the history, that’s all great. One day it will all sink in. But right now all I’m thinking about is Ryan Newman,” he told ESPN reporter Ryan McGee after the crash.
Hamlin said on Twitter Monday that he wasn’t aware of how bad the crash was until after his victory lap because he had unhooked his radio.
“First a [sic] foremost I want to give well wishes and prayers to @RyanJNewman,” he wrote.
“I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane.
“There’s very little communication after the finish and I had already unhooked my radio. It’s not anyone’s fault.”
Newman was silent on his radio as medics rushed onto the track, Sporting News reported.
He’s currently being treated at Halifax Medical Center and is in serious condition, but doctors say his injuries aren’t life-threatening, NASCAR said in a statement Monday night.
Newman’s car flipped, rolled, was hit on the driver’s side by another car, and finally skidded across the finish line engulfed in flames.
Safety workers spent nearly 10 minutes trying to pry him from his car, which was hurtling towards the finish line at nearly 200mph, according to Yahoo Sports.
He was taken to a local hospital, but NASCAR didn’t provide an immediate update on his condition.
Blaney pushed Newman’s car out in front of the others, a common move drivers use to edge out their opponents in order to snag the lead.
However, the maneuver comes with a ton of risk – Newman’s car quickly careened into the wall, sending smoke, sparks, and a tire tumbling across the raceway.
#Prayfornewman began trending on Twitter shortly after the accident – the hashtag has since amassed more than 4,600 tweets, many of which were filled with well-wishes and prayers for the 18-time NASCAR Cup winner.
“All we can do as a fanbase right now. Come together for the boys who go out there and risk everything to win. #PrayForNewman,” wrote Twitter user Caleb Hoffman.
“I feel like I did the day I watched Dale Earnhardt’s last race at Daytona. God bless Ryan Newman and his loved ones,” tweeted Ember Starr.
“I sincerely hope he is going to be alright.”
“We are all Ryan Newman fans right now…Coem on dear lord keep this man here with us on earth!!!” said Alex P.
Others expressed concern for Newman’s two daughters Ashlyn and Brooklyn as well as his wife Krissie.
The couple announced their decision to amicably split just days before the devastating crash on Thursday.
“You don’t have to be a NASCAR fan. You don’t even have to like sports. We all need to send positive vibes and prayers to Ryan Newman,” wrote Chrissi Nielsen.
“He’s a father and husband. His family needs him. Hope he is okay.”
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The horrific accident was one of many crashes that happened at the annual race held in Daytona, Florida.
Nearly 20 cars were taken out in an accident with fewer than 20 laps to go, followed by several others as drivers vied for the top spot in NASCAR’s biggest race.
At 209 laps, Monday’s race is the longest Daytona 500 in history.
The race was postponed for the second time in 62 years because of rain delays, Fox News reported.
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