For Ryan Newman, ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’

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Ryan Newman in the garage Friday at Phoenix Raceway. (Ivan Veldhuizen Photo)
Ryan Newman has been officially cleared to return to NASCAR competition. (Ivan Veldhuizen Photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Ryan Newman was back at a race track on Friday for the first time following a violent crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17 at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

Newman walked through the garage area at Phoenix Raceway and spoke briefly to members of the media, saying, “It’s great to be alive. If you looked at my car, it’s a miracle.”

The crash that took place on the last lap of the Daytona 500 resulted in Newman being hospitalized for two days before leaving the hospital hand-in-hand with his two daughters. The driver of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford Mustang later confirmed he suffered a head injury in the crash, but escaped without any broken bones.

Ross Chastain has driven the No. 6 for Roush Fenway Racing since Newman’s crash and he’ll be back in the car again this weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

Newman acknowledged that he feels fine, but he has no idea when he’ll be back in action.

“I have no idea about anything,” Newman said. “I’m here to spectate and have some fun.

“I’m just really here to support the 6 team and stay integrated with what I can do with the team and have some fun, obviously,” Newman added. “I want to see Ross do well. I’d rather be in Ross’ seat. Just want to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can for our sponsors and for myself to have a good weekend.

“I got a chance now to watch not just the 6 but the 17 (Chris Buescher) and how they work and the teamwork that goes into that. That is equally as important to me to have the opportunity to see them and watch them perform while I’m not in the race car. I feel I should take advantage of this crazy opportunity.”