LaJoie credits a safety measure for saving him from injury; Ironically, that safety item was put in place following a separate incident involving Newman at Talladega
NASCAR driver Ryan Newman was involved in a viscous crash on Monday night. Just a few hundred feet from the finish line, race leader Newman was turned head on into the outside wall.
The car violently bounced off the outside wall and rolled. The entire field was coming toward the finish as Newman sat upside down in the middle of the track.
Corey LaJoie came into the scene at 200mph. He struck Newman in the driver’s side door. With the hood, window and roof of LaJoie’s car, he scoped Newman back into the air.
Newman was transported to local hospital. A few days later, he was released. However, Newman will not be in the car this weekend as he continues to heal from injury.
Related: Ryan Newman crash (Video)
Corey LaJoie on the Ryan Newman crash
After the crash, LaJoie was stunned. First, he sat beside his car to catch his breath as the impact knocked the wind out of him.
After that, LaJoie expressed concern for Newman. Before seeing the tape, LaJoie began asking reporters the questions, he wanted to know where he hit Newman’s car, as it happened too fast for him to know himself.
“It truly is a miracle the condition that Ryan Newman is in today vs. what we all assumed on Monday night,” said Corey LaJoie stated via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“It goes to show how nasty of a wreck and how good of a job that NASCAR has done to make these cars safer and just the power of prayer, really.”
“It’s been a very emotional week for everybody. I wanted to thank everybody for reaching out and supporting all three of us (Ryan) Blaney, myself and (Newman). It seems like all three of us are doing well for the circumstances.”
“It was crazy how fast it happened. People don’t realize how much it hurts when you hit something that hard that fast.”
The Newman Bar
Ironically, LaJoie credits a former incident involving Newman that prevented him from injury on Monday.
Years ago, Newman was involved in a crash at Talladega that brought new safety measures to the sport. The cage impact to the driver’s compartment raised concerns.
NASCAR evaluated the car after the crash, as they do with any major impact. The results were an addition to the rule book, a bar which added additional support to the roll cage.
On Monday night, LaJoie struck Ryan Newman’s 3,600 pound car at 200mph. That bar, added years ago, likely played a big role in LaJoie’s safety in the Daytona 500 crash.
“I kind of thanked him for flipping at Talladega over a couple of years ago because if it wasn’t for that visor bar, that second roof bar that they put in after that crash that Ryan had,” LaJoie said of his conversation with Newman this week.
“I told him, I said, ‘We would have been able to split the ambulance fare because I would have been right there next to him.’ There was no telling how bad it could have been.’ “
“I think the previous crashes and the advancements that the R&D Center and the guys at NASCAR have made to make the car safer through that wreck is what really kept him and I both safe.”
This week, NASCAR took the cars of LaJoie and Newman to the NASCAR R&D Center. They’ll evaluate both cars and the footage from inside the cockpit to determine if new safety measures will need to be put into place.
Beyond that, there’s a new car on the way for 2021. That car is set to change the sport in a lot of ways. Of course, the car is also expected to be safer.
Changes to superspeedway racing?
200mph is dangerous on any track. But, Daytona and Talladega create a 3-4 lane superhighway. Any time we see big incidents, whether or not we should change the racing there, comes into question.
“I’m comfortable. It’s what you sign up for,” LaJoie said of the dangers in NASCAR.
“There’s an element of danger. Like I was explaining to someone the other day, you’re trying to make a 3,600-pound piece of metal go 200 miles an hour, sometimes you’re going to have bad crashes.”
“I think it’s a testament to what NASCAR is learning and trying to keep these cars safe because that was the worst, the worst, angle of a crash.”
“The worst area of a car to get hit on Monday night, the way Ryan was and for him to be literally to be walking out 36 hours later, why would we change what many would consider the best form of racing that we have in the superspeedways?”
“My opinion, we don’t change a thing.”
“We just keep learning from these wild crashes, especially with this new Next Gen car coming in, the cars are even 30-40% safer than this. I’m excited to get into that car and continue to put on a great show for the fans.”