During the last lap of the 2020 Daytona 500, Ryan Newman had no recollection of his incredibly dramatic and intense crash.
The NASCAR first responders, whom he does not recall, saved his life by getting him into an ambulance, removing him and cutting off the roof before flipping his car over. The safety team evaluated his condition by crawling into his overturned vehicle, putting out the flames, and calling for firefighters. As it skidded on the track, the car emitted fire and sparks, ultimately landing upside down and saving his life.
Nevertheless, he possesses complete knowledge of the precise occurrences that occurred, all courtesy of an individual who assembled a YouTube video displaying various viewpoints of the incident.
Newman said last week, “The biggest problem is that I don’t have any memory of my own angle, which is the ultimate angle that replays variations of angles. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, it will always be gone and replayed in different variations. It’s impossible for me to watch every angle I’ve watched.”
In the NASCAR pit, he is among the most determined and outspoken proponents of safety, supported in part by his engineering qualification from Purdue. He mentioned that he examines his own accidents, as well as those he is not directly involved in, for one primary purpose: safety.
The incident involving Newman’s crash in NASCAR last year forced them to investigate and make significant changes, resulting in adjusted practices and safety advancements. The crash at the Daytona 500 clearly demonstrated that the cars are much safer now, as it has been 20 years since Dale Earnhardt Sr. Was killed in a wreck.
Newman stated, “I have unfortunately lost a few valuable companions,” particularly mentioning Kenny Irwin Jr., Who tragically passed away in 2000 after colliding at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Irwin was among the trio of drivers in NASCAR’s three national series who perished that year due to a collision, alongside Adam Petty and Tony Roper.
We will always continue to learn from those things we lose and those things we don’t lose, as long as we keep focused on increasing our level of safety.
Saving Ryan Newman
Following the accident, he was discharged from the medical facility in under 48 hours. He referred to it as a “cerebral contusion” and was placed in a medically induced unconscious state. He was transported to a nearby hospital in Daytona Beach and an ambulance was used to extract the driver and prevent the vehicle from further sliding on its roof. It took nearly 16 minutes from the moment Newman’s car ceased sliding on its roof and came to a halt.
Personnel on the roster of Speedway International Daytona include medical and firefighters, who are trained to handle a variety of incidents, including a variety of incidents. They are particularly skilled at handling incidents on the iconic track, which is already famous for its violent wrecks in the inherently violent sport.
O’Donnell, the officer in charge of development and racing at NASCAR, stated that Newman’s medical team consists of neurologists, physicians, paramedics, and the safety crew from AMR NASCAR. These professionals swiftly extinguished the flames and provided trackside medical services within 16 minutes.
The only time Newman wasn’t receiving medical attention during that period was when they overturned the vehicle before rescuing him.
John Bobo, vice president of racing operations for NASCAR, stated, “It develops the automatic response in emergency responders, enabling them to react promptly when necessary.” “Before last year’s Daytona event, the safety team convened in Daytona and conducted a valuable exercise on handling rollovers.”
Bobo likened it to a symphony, which would designate Todd Marshall as the conductor.
NASCAR’s manager, Marshall, monitored the activities of the race from the race control tower above Daytona International Speedway as he observed Newman’s crash. He mentioned that he started predicting the final positions of Newman’s car and the other vehicles involved in the accident, ensuring that the emergency response teams would have accurate information about where to go on the 2.5-mile track once the cars started crashing.
Marshall, a former fire and rescue captain, mentioned in an email that the crews had to manage a rollover procedure, a vehicle extrication, and the extraction of an injured driver. The complexity arose from the unique processes involved. The on-track staff successfully handled each step in order, following their training, and achieved a favorable outcome. These particular actions are infrequent occurrences during a racing season.
This incident, like any other incident, is characterized by the number of people operating on the scene and the span of control. The crews performed well in managing the incident and controlling the number of people operating on the scene.
Marshall emphasized that readiness and effective interaction are essential, and that his own and colleagues’ involvement in fire and emergency services empowers them to react to accidents with composure and determination. He clarified that he wasn’t frightened, but genuinely worried about Newman’s well-being.
Marshall, who is well-known, completes training annually and through hands-on experience, accumulates a total of 41 hours and 55 minutes. This training is crucial for preparing the crew services track’s NASCAR. Bobo stated that these rehearsals are aimed at helping the crew anticipate a wide range of scenarios with the assistance of training on cars. Additionally, they undergo track-specific training for approximately 60 days before each event.
Bobo stated, “We unveil stock vehicles equipped with fire pans underneath and will ignite them. We will genuinely guide individuals through simulated windshield cutting exercises. … Our ER physicians will even perform procedures while suspended upside down inside a car. Therefore, we execute every conceivable action.”
Answering, examining and adjusting
Newman, who was saved as intended, worked on establishing safety systems. However, NASCAR wants to avoid complacency against the guard, according to O’Donnell. He stated that NASCAR’s efforts to adjust and innovate have been “accelerated” in the two decades since Earnhardt’s death.
Newman expressed that Earnhardt’s crash was a wake-up call that should have been addressed beforehand, and they gained knowledge from it. It was as if he said, “This is the final straw. We must take action here.” He acknowledged that the incident was likely influenced by the individual involved, but that’s just how life operates.
In recent years, NASCAR has made major adjustments to its safety rules, including mandating the installation of SAFER barriers on tracks to absorb the energy of a crash. NASCAR also began requiring drivers to wear nine-point or seven-point seat belts to further restrict how much gravity can pull them out of their seats if the car is upside down. Additionally, drivers are now required to wear the HANS device, a restraint for the neck and head, and full-face helmets, in order to minimize the risk of injury. These changes were made following the death of the legendary seven-time NASCAR champion.
“As a result of the crash, no drivers have died in three national NASCAR series, which is what Dale Earnhardt’s death represents in the culture,” said O’Donnell.
O’Donnell further stated that instead of solely discussing methods to increase the speed of the car, it is important for us to consistently engage in conversations regarding technology and safety on a daily basis. This approach encourages individuals in the industry to actively approach us with innovative ideas. Undoubtedly, the HANS device and SAFER barriers played a significant role in this regard.
In 2013, NASCAR took further measures to enhance the driver’s safety by incorporating an additional support system into the roll cage. This improvement was a direct result of Newman’s advocacy and the occurrence of several terrifying accidents at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway, in which Newman was involved. Prior to the crash in the previous year, Newman had already made a noteworthy contribution to NASCAR safety with the implementation of the “Newman Bar.”
After conducting an inquiry into the final lap crash at the 2020 Daytona 500, NASCAR implemented safety upgrades that involved requiring two extra roll bars and strengthening the window net and mounting of the driver’s seat. These enhancements are intended to ensure that the drivers and their body parts remain within the vehicle in the event of an accident.
“We have always had ongoing safety research projects to ensure that we can make better decisions, which ultimately makes us smarter. We have been able to capture more data, allowing us to be more proficient. Additionally, we have had access to incredibly powerful new tools for analysis and new sensors. Dr. John Patalak, the Senior Director of Engineering and Safety at NASCAR, stated,”
We were unable to simply test crash the dummies in the past, but now we have the opportunity to dive deep into certain things that will truly allow us to advance greatly, and computer modeling is a significant aspect of this.
Each year, at the start of a safety and racing operation conference, Bobo stated that new findings or safety advancements are outlined. Roof training for an inverted vehicle has become more prevalent among NASCAR’s tracks for on-course first responders.
Probst John, the senior vice president of NASCAR’s racing development, stated that there are several updates to the new stock cars, including reinforced structures, which can withstand crashes from both the rear and the front. However, due to the challenges related to COVID-19, the debut of the Next-Gen NASCAR car, originally scheduled for this season, was pushed back a year. Looking ahead, NASCAR is preparing for its debut in the upcoming season.