Tags: daytona | ryan newman | bump drafting | auto racing | crash | safety

Blaney's Attempted Push Led to Newman's Violent Crash

Ryan Newman (6) goes airborne as Corey LaJoie (32) crashes in to him on the final lap of the Daytona 500
Ryan Newman (6) goes airborne as Corey LaJoie (32) crashes in to him on the final lap of the NASCAR Daytona 500 on Monday. (John Raoux/AP)

Tuesday, 18 February 2020 04:04 PM

Drafting, blocking and bumping are essential elements of racing on NASCAR's fastest tracks. When Ryan Blaney pushed fellow Ford driver Ryan Newman in the final lap of the Daytona 500, it was something both men have done hundreds of times on superspeedways.

For a few seconds, it looked like everything was going to work out Monday night, with a career-defining Daytona 500 victory for Newman. Then Newman's car angled back into traffic, creating the most violent and frightening wreck at Daytona since the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001.

The damage to his Mustang was extensive — it appeared the entire roll cage designed to protect his head had caved — and officials would not allow his team near the accident site. Two agonizing hours after the crash, NASCAR read a statement from Roush Fenway Racing that said Newman was in "serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening."

What happened? Where did it go wrong? Could it have been prevented?

There are no simple answers. Here is what we know:

Race-winner Denny Hamlin gave Blaney a huge shove that pushed him toward leader Newman and caused Blaney's car to wobble. Blaney regrouped and seemingly had enough momentum to drive by Newman when he swerved low. Newman tried to block the move and got hit by Blaney.

"We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from (Hamlin). . . . I was committed to just pushing (Newman) to the win and having a Ford win it and got the bumpers hooked up wrong," Blaney said.

Bump drafting at 200 mph is a delicate maneuver, and a few inches can turn victory into chaos.

Blaney hit Newman's bumper to the right of center, causing Newman's car to turn right, barely missing Hamlin, and slamming into the energy-absorbing barrier. The impact caused Newman's car to flip onto its roof and then its side. Corey LaJoie then crushed the driver's side of Newman's car, sending it airborne again. Newman's car again landed on its roof and skidded past the finish line to a stop, spewing sparks and fuel that caused a fire. It took safety crews about 16 minutes to extricate Newman from his No. 6 Ford and load him into a waiting ambulance. He remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon.

The aerodynamics package NASCAR uses at Daytona and Talladega, the two fastest and biggest tracks in the series, creates tight packs of cars running close to 200 mph. Drivers work together and draft off each other, essentially pushing the car in front of them, to maintain momentum and avoid losing positions.

A car running alone in the pack without a drafting partner is often shuffled back in the field. Drivers who can lock bumpers and stay connected surge toward the front. The downside to this racing is that one wiggle can create a harrowing accident, and pack racing usually leads to massive wrecks that collect multiple competitors who have no way of avoiding melees.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Drafting, blocking and bumping are essential elements of racing on NASCAR's fastest tracks. When Ryan Blaney pushed fellow Ford driver Ryan Newman in the final lap of the Daytona 500, it was something both men have done hundreds of times on superspeedways.
daytona, ryan newman, bump drafting, auto racing, crash, safety
497
2020-04-18
Tuesday, 18 February 2020 04:04 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved