The NASCAR community has been rocked by a terrifying accident involving Ryan Newman.
During the final lap of the Daytona 500 on Monday night, the 2008 champion's car was tapped by fellow competitor Ryan Blaney, causing Newman to lose control of his vehicle. Footage shows his car flipping through the air several times before catching on fire and sliding down the track on its roof.
Immediately following the shocking accident, the 42-year-old was rushed to a local Florida hospital, where he currently remains. "Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center," NASCAR said in a statement on Twitter. "He is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and ask that you respect the privacy of Ryan and his family during this time. We appreciate your patience and cooperation and we will provide more information as it becomes available."
After the race, Blaney addressed the near-fatal incident while speaking with reporters. "I hope he's alright," he said. "That looked really bad and it's not something I wanted to do. It definitely wasn't intentional."
"Even though it's unintentional," he continued, "You don't want to hurt anybody. I'm just waiting to see if he's OK."
Indeed, Newman's crash left fans and competitors in a somber mood. Though Denny Hamlin won the coveted champion title for the second year in a row, he was hardly in the mood to celebrate.
"Denny Hamlin pulled in to Victory Lane and then stayed in the driver's seat of the car much longer than normal," tweeted local Florida sports reporter Daren Stoltzfus. "Even asked for a Fox crew to bring a monitor over to the car so he could see the last lap and Ryan Newman's wreck. Not normal. Very subdued celebration #Daytona500."
Later, according to Stoltzfus, Hamlin referred to Newman's wreck as the "worst possible scenario."