NASCAR: Why Ryan Newman should be in no rush to return

While he wants to return to the NASCAR Cup Series, Ryan Newman is focused on his health at this time, and that is justifiably his priority over a speedy return.

The NASCAR community breathed a collective sigh of relief after learning that the horrific last-lap Daytona 500 crash left Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman in serious condition but without any life threatening injuries late last Monday night.

While leading the race, Newman’s #6 Ford was spun up the track after Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney made contact with him coming to the checkered flag. After slamming the SAFER barrier, the #6 Ford flipped over. Then the #32 Ford, driven by Go Fas Racing’s Corey LaJoie, was unable to avoid the airborne car and slammed into the driver’s side of it.

The impact sent the #6 Ford, now with flames emerging from it, skidding for several hundreds yards across the Daytona International Speedway surface on its roof before finally coming to rest.

Newman was extricated from his car and taken to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. Within 48 hours, he had been treated and released, which came as miraculous news after how horrifying the crash was and how awful the impact looked.

But the 42-year-old South Bend, Indiana native was still sidelined for this past Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with Ross Chastain filling in behind the wheel of the #6 Ford, and there has been no timetable placed on his return.

Before this past weekend, there had still be no official word on any injuries that Newman had suffered, and that had left several fans concerned.

But Newman confirmed before the race that he had sustained a head injury in this crash.

“I was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones. I did sustain a head injury for which I’m currently being treated,” Newman wrote in a statement. “The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days.”

While he did walk out of the hospital with his two young daughters not even two days after many fans feared he had not survived, there was still no timetable on his return.

While that will certainly leave some fans still uneasy about the situation, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and as a NASCAR fanbase, we need to respect that health comes above all else.

Head injuries are nothing to take lightly, especially with all of the information that has surfaced over the last few years about the long-term effects of concussions and C.T.E.

Let’s also not forget that Newman did not disclose specifics; he simply said head injury. And there’s nothing wrong with him choosing to leave it at that, either. Speculation does no good here.

It is clear that Newman intends to make a full recovery before he gets back behind the wheel, and that is the best-case scenario for him and is far more important than as speedy a return as humanly possible.

He doesn’t intend to take any shortcuts. He has a life outside of racing. He has a family. He has two young daughters. He owns and operates Rescue Ranch, a non-profit animal welfare organization in North Carolina.

Why compromise any of that?

With that being said, let’s not discount the fact that it is obvious Newman wants to return to the series, and there is nothing wrong with that, either.

And he still wants to win the 2020 championship.

When you compete in 649 consecutive races over the course of 19 years, tied for the longest active streak at the time, and then are forced to miss a race for an injury that is out of your control, it is only natural to be itching to get back behind the wheel.

With Newman, it is no different.

“I have spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the No. 6 car will be waiting and ready for my return,” he concluded. “I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford.”

But again, there is no timetable on that return, and that is for the absolute best given the circumstances.

Chastain is once again set to drive the #6 Ford in this Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

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The NASCAR community cannot wait to see Ryan Newman return to Cup Series competition behind the wheel of the #6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.

But at the same time, the top priority for him right now is his health, and while his hospital visit was a lot quicker than many of us had anticipated, he remains on the mend and we continue to send our thoughts and prayers in his direction and in the direction of those working closely with him, including his friends and family.

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