The Bad One: Ryan Newman’s Last Lap Crash At The 2020 Daytona 500


The Bad One: Ryan Newman’s Last Lap Crash At The 2020 Daytona 500

Nineteen years ago, I was in a classroom in a high school in Illinois, working on a project during a study hall session when I learned what happened: during the running of the 2001 Daytona 500 the day prior, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. had died after a last-lap incident involving Ken Schrader. While battling for position on the last lap, Earnhardt had gotten loose after making contact with Sterling Marlin and had wound up on the apron off of Turn Four. As he tried to get back up onto the banking, Schrader’s car had no where to go but into Earnhardt’s car and that’s when the #3 Chevrolet went nose-first into the wall…and when the death of a NASCAR racing driver really slammed home for the public.

Readers, I was not watching the end of the 2020 Daytona 500 live. I only saw posts relating to what happened and investigated once I came inside for the night. And I’m going to tell you, hand on heart, that the same feeling I had the first time I saw footage of the Earnhardt crash came back to the surface. Battling it out on the last lap at Daytona is always going to be a thing. But the ride that Ryan Newman went on is nightmare material.

While charging for the last-lap lead before the finish line, Newman was in a battle with Denny Hamlin for first place and Ryan Blainey was doing what he could to assist Newman up front. After shoving Newman into first place, Blainey slipped to second to play blocker with Hamlin. After Hamlin shoved Blainey towards the apron, Newman mirrored him, appearing to try to get back into the tandem shoving system, and the contact between Hamlin and Blainey’s Fords didn’t line up. Newman’s car turned to the fence and hit nearly nose-on, spun around and started rolling over and spinning. Corey LaJoie didn’t have any time to react and hit Newman’s car viciously as it was upside down, right about the B-pillar, and sent Newman airborne. Newman slid to a stop in a shower of sparks before coming to rest on the driver’s side, on fire.

As of press time, Newman was in Halifax Medical Center in serious (non life-threatening) condition. Below are two videos: the scene of the accident and the official statement update that was the newest information when posted.


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10 thoughts on “The Bad One: Ryan Newman’s Last Lap Crash At The 2020 Daytona 500

  1. Robert

    I really thought the worst when I saw that crash and am thankful he survived and hope he recovers fully.

  2. Gary

    So Blaney hit Newman? I don’t care how you slice it, that’s dirty drving, and I’d ban him from NASCAR events for at least the rest of the season.

    1. nopl8s

      Blaney didn’t hit Newman. Newman came down to block Blaney’s run. Their bumpers didn’t line up correctly and Newman’s car got turned.
      There was nothing dirty or malicious about it.
      At 200 mph, unfortunately, stuff happens.

    2. orange65

      You don’t watch NASCAR do you? Bumping is common but it usually more in line when the two cars hit. It is called bump drafting. In this case, the two cars were slightly off center and with the rate of closure, there wasn’t a whole lot they could do. It was just a bad situation- neither were doing anything wrong. The worst part of the wreck was when Newman was hit in the side and flipped upside down. That was the worst part of it to me.

  3. kingofvenus

    The safety crew couldn’t have been much slower…. That was a ton of fuel pouring out that luckily didn’t reach those flames.

    1. doug gregory

      I was watching that and wondering why they appeared so lethargic in their response. Perhaps they were thinking since the race was over there was no rush…? I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a slow response at an event like that.

      It could have been even more ugly real quick.

  4. bob

    Watching real time that fuel pouring out with a fire inches away for what seemed like an eternity.

    Man that could have got real bad real fast..

  5. Scott Liggett

    I had a sickening feeling when I saw Lajoie hit Newman right in the door while Newmans car was upside down. You could see the B pillar and the area over the door get caved in. That feeling was worse when Newman’s car slid down the track on his door with sparks and fuel spraying everywhere. Thankfully, the safety crew were there immediately to tend to him and any possible flames.

    I drove Newman once as a chauffeur in LA. Because of horrid traffic, he was in the car with me for nearly three hours. We talked about his classic car collection and he asked about mine. I stayed away from work related questions and the direction Nascar was going. He was extremely nice, down to earth, very intelligent, and a joy to be stuck in traffic with. Praying for his full recovery

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