Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – LAS VEGAS, NV – Driver Martin Truex Jr. and long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex were among the first to see Ryan Newman after he was released from Halifax Medical Center on Wednesday.
The relief and elation were still evident when Truex stopped by the media center on Saturday, after rain washed our NASCAR Cup Series qualifying and put Truex on the outside of the front row, based on final 2019 owner points.
“It was cool to just go down there and see him and make sure he was OK,” Truex said. “Really, Sherry and I just wanted him to know we were there for him if he needed anything. It was cool. It was good to see the good shape he was in. It was a little surprising as well.
“We’re planning fishing trips already, so it was a fun visit to hang out. I’ve been talking to him throughout the week, obviously. He’s doing real good. I feel like he’ll be back before anybody thinks he could. He’s a tough son of a gun. He’s in good spirits and hanging out with his family, so he’s doing well.”
Truex didn’t have any qualms, though, about some playful ribbing of his friend.
“He’s got no neck and a big hard head, so that helps for sure,” Truex said. “I told him this week he’s lucky he’s such a hard-headed son of a gun. All those things, and God was riding with him. What else can you say? It was a scary wreck, for sure. Hopefully, we don’t have to worry about things like that, for sure. We just have to figure out ways to keep the cars on the ground.”
NASCAR PROVIDES UPDATES ON MEDICAL TEAM RESPONSE TO RYAN NEWMAN’S CRASH
What seemed like an eternity was actually 19 seconds.
After Ryan Newman’s battered race car came to rest last Monday at the end of the tri-oval in a brutal wreck at the finish of the Daytona 500, it took only 19 seconds for the first emergency vehicle to arrive, according to a chronology provided by NASCAR officials during a question-and-answer session with reporters on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“The tool truck arrived at the vehicle 19 seconds after it came to rest,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The fireman that you saw with the extinguisher was in that vehicle. One of the three trauma doctors assigned to the safety team for the race arrived at the car at the 33‑second mark, and a paramedic entered the vehicle at the 35‑second mark.
“For the next three and a half minutes, two doctors and paramedics attended to Ryan. At the 4:05 mark, the decision was then made to roll the car over while continuing to help aid the driver. At the 6:56 mark, the car was upright. The extrication team then began cutting the car, and a doctor continued to provide treatment.
“The roof was removed at the 11:10 mark, and the extrication was completed at 15:40, and the driver was then moved to the ambulance for transport. During this entire time, doctors and paramedics were attending to Ryan, except at the moment of the car rollover.”
Newman, who was taken directly to the Halifax Medical Center and released from the hospital on Wednesday, may well have benefitted from the so-called “Newman bar,” reinforcement for the roll cage that strengthened the roof and the windshield that was implemented after a wreck involving Newman in 2013.
“So when we look at the cars and look back at what we’ve been able to do with the cars as an industry, we’ve been able to make improvements,” said Dr. John Patalak, NASCAR’s senior director of safety engineering. “The one you’ve referenced in 2013 with the additional roll bars and the roof and the windshield area… we were also able to do things with the laminate windshield in 2013 and improved window net mounting in 2013.
“All of those things really contribute and work together as an assembly to improve the overall outcomes to what we saw in Daytona.”
“I think, just to add to that, John and I were talking earlier about the fact that Ryan Newman was involved in this accident, with his engineering background, has been someone who we have turned to in many times talking about safety enhancements,” rejoined O’Donnell.
“One of the reasons you won’t hear as many details today is we still haven’t had the chance to go through this with Ryan and his team, with the other drivers in the garage, but Ryan’s feedback as we go through this will be key, and I think that’ll be a key component as it’s always been throughout the process when he’s been racing.”
Both Newman’s car and the No. 32 of Corey LaJoie, which collided with Newman’s Ford as it flipped upside-down, were destroyed in the wreck, and both were taken to NASCAR’s R&D Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection and evaluation.
KEVIN HARVICK ISSUES CHALLENGE TO KYLE BUSCH’S DOMINATION IN TRUCKS
With seeming ease, Kyle Busch won Friday night’s Strat 200 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Busch’s seventh straight victory in as many starts in his own trucks.
But when fans on Twitter decried the reigning NASCAR Cup champion’s moonlighting in the Gander Truck Series, fellow Cup champ Kevin Harvick came to his defense, offering a $50,000 bounty if any driver could beat Busch in any of his four remaining truck races this year (Atlanta, Homestead, Texas and Kansas).
The rules are simple. The Cup driver has to beat Busch fair and square, without wrecking him.
Marcus Lemonis, owner of the series sponsor, chimed in with an offer to match Harvick’s $50,000. Naturally enough, Busch wanted to know what he would get if he kept the competition at bay for all four races.
“If you put money on a bounty on somebody, then bad things tend to happen,” Busch said. “Make it whatever you want. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got great stuff, I’m a good driver—bring it.”
Harvick later tweeted that, if Busch wins the challenge, he would donate the $50,000 to the Bundle of Joy Fund founded by Busch and his wife Samantha to help couples who are having difficulty conceiving children.