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One question has been asked repeatedly since the near-tragic crash at the Daytona 500: How was Ryan Newman able to survive the amazing wreck in which his car went airborne, landed upside down, and caught fire?

How was Ryan Newman able to survive the Daytona 500 crash?

NASCAR safety experts are still studying video and examining wreckage from Ryan Newman’s crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500, but stringent safety requirements undoubtedly helped the veteran NASCAR driver survive.

The cars have been redesigned multiple times over decades of racing as speeds have increased on NASCAR’s top circuit. The last set of wholesale changes came in 2007 with what NASCAR labeled as the “Car of Tomorrow.” At that time the driver’s seat was moved closer to the center of the car to lessen the potential effect of driver-side impacts.

Drivers are required to wear head and neck restraints to prevent them from being jarred by impacts. Energy-absorbing material has been added to the frame in the interior of the car several times over the years and additional changes are due in 2021 when NASCAR rolls out its next major redesign.

NASCAR added a requirement in 2003 that cars be fitted with a fire-suppression system near the fuel cell, activated at a high temperature by a sensor. That safety feature plus the fact the Newman’s car should have been low on fuel by the end of the race prevented the car from being completely engulfed by flames.

How many broken bones did Ryan Newman suffer?

Ryan Newman, 42 walked out of a Daytona Beach, Florida, hospital under his own power two days after his spectacular crash. Knowing that there would be interest from the TV audience watching this past weekend’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he issued a statement over the weekend updating his condition and expressing gratitude for the support coming from around the country.

Newman also offered insight into the degree of his injuries. He said in the statement that he is being treated for a head injury but that there were no internal injuries or broken bones. “The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days,” he said.

He credited his ability to walk out of the hospital so soon to his team.

“I have to thank the guys back at the Roush Fenway Racing shop that built me a car not only fast enough to lead the final seconds of the Daytona 500, but strong enough to do its job under great distress, allowing me to survive such an accident.  I am truly indebted to each of you and it is unlikely I will ever be able to properly express to you how much the diligent effort with which you conduct your craftmanship has affected me and my family. “

When will Ryan Newman race again?

The statement released by the driver said that there is no date set for Ryan Newman’s return to racing, though Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said Newman’s “objective is to get back in the car as quick as he can.”

Once doctors give Newman their approval to resume driving, he will still have to be cleared by NASCAR before he can race.  A team official said Newman will ask NASCAR for an exemption to qualify for the playoffs once he’s medically cleared to return.

Newman is being replaced in his Ford for now by Ross Chastain.

Said Newman: “I have spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the number six car will be waiting and ready for my return. I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford.”