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Kyle Busch on driver safety: "We're not invincible"

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Kyle Busch on driver safety: "We're not invincible"
By:
Feb 21, 2020, 10:41 PM

Ryan Newman’s fellow NASCAR competitors are pleased to see his speedy recovery from last week’s Daytona crash but also offered a stark warning about the dangers of their sport.

Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries
Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries
Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries
Ryan Newman with his daughters Brooklyn Sage, Ashlyn Olivia
Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is treated by track medical
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after crashing
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in huge crash at the finish
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in huge crash at the finish
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in huge crash at the finish
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield
Tate Fogleman, Young's Motorsports, Chevrolet Silverado Solid Rock Carriers, crashes and catches fire in turn 4
Ty Majeski, Niece Motorsports, Chevrolet Silverado Plan B Sales, crash
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Shell Pennzoil, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield

“I think sometimes you take it for granted. What we’re doing, the severity of what we’re doing, the course of action of what injury can happen – it can happen in any instance, we’re not invincible,” two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch said Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Safety is always an evolution. There’s going to be something else that happens that we have to go through and figure out the circumstances as to why it happened, how can we prevent it from happening again.”

Newman suffered what were described at the time as “serious but non-life-threatening” injuries in a violent crash on the last lap of Monday’s Daytona 500.

During the incident, Newman got turned into the wall and his No. 6 Ford went airborne and was struck by another car in the driver’s side door area as it returned to the ground. The car ended up on its roof and on fire before safety workers arrived on the scene.

Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries

Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

However, by Tuesday afternoon, Newman’s Roush Fenway Racing team had issued a statement that he was “awake and speaking” and he ended up being released from the hospital on Wednesday.

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On Saturday at Las Vegas, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, will provide an update on NASCAR’s review of Newman’s accident at Daytona.

Austin Dillon said drivers’ ability to escape serious injury from violent wrecks probably has led to some sense of complacency.

“You get numb to it a little bit because people just jump out of the cars. A really bad one of (Kyle) Larson’s last year like we were talking about, we’ve watched it in the safety meetings before the (Daytona) 500,” Dillon said.

“You just watch it and you still hear the ‘that looks like it hurt’. You just kind of say it’s safe enough, you’re just going to be a little sore the next day. Then, you watch how long it took Ryan (Newman) to get out, the amount of people it took to get him out and the safety workers doing their job, it definitely makes you think differently about it, for sure.

“The ‘it can happen,’ I guess is the next thing that’s part of it. You never think about that, but it’s like man, you can actually get hurt.”

Just part of superspeedway racing

Dillon, however, doesn’t think Newman’s fast recovery from a vicious wreck will alter drivers’ approach to superspeedway racing.

“I feel like speedway racing is as wild as it can get, you know what I mean, because you know what’s on the line when you get down to the end of the race. You literally just shut everything off,” he said.

“It’s part of what speedway racing is and I think there’s a group of fans that love the speedway racing because of that. I don’t think it will change the way we drive to make us any bolder. I think we’re already as bold as we can get when we wreck half the field.”

Joey Logano said he was glad NASCAR was already looking into the wreck to see how the current safety devices were impacted and could possibly be made better.

“It says a lot about what our race cars are and I think even this NextGen car in some of those areas where the impact was seems to be, from at least my non-engineering degree perspective, looks like it should be stronger in that spot,” Logano said.

“So, I’m glad to see that NASCAR is already looking at it, even before this in that area, and I look forward to getting in that car and have something even safer to drive.”

Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries

Crash of Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Joey Logano , Austin Dillon , Kyle Busch
Author Jim Utter