Ryan Newman makes first trip to track since Daytona crash: 'It's great to be alive'

Ryan Newman isn’t driving his No. 6 car at Phoenix this weekend but he’s at the track to support his team.

Newman made his first public appearance at a race track on Friday since his terrifying crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. He talked to reporters as he walked through the garage and said that he was feeling fine as he expertly plugged longtime sponsor Coke.

“It’s great to be alive. If you’re looking at my car, it’s a miracle,” Newman said.

Newman, who suffered an undisclosed head injury in the crash, is being replaced by Ross Chastain in the No. 6 for the third consecutive race. He said there is no timetable for his return to racing after his car was plowed into by Corey LaJoie’s on the driver’s side while it was upside down as the field barreled to the checkered flag.

Ryan Newman hasn't raced since his crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Newman was immediately taken to a local hospital after he was extricated from his car at Daytona. While he was hospitalized in serious condition he was released just two days later and walked out of the hospital with his two daughters.

Before going to the track on Friday, Newman showed up to a Ford driver gathering on Thursday night.

“We had no idea that he was going to show up,” Ryan Blaney said. Newman’s car went careening into the wall after contact from Blaney as they headed toward the checkered flag. “We were having dinner and he walked in. That was great. That was the first time I have seen Ryan personally. I think the first time a lot of us had seen Ryan.

“That was really cool to see. We sat and talked, the whole Ford group, for an hour, hour-and-a-half once he got there. We talked about a lot of stuff. It was nice to see him. He is full Ryan Newman-caliber and it is great to see. It was cool to hear some of the process that he went through and some of the doctors that worked on him. They were very extensive with him and he has been passing everything with flying colors which is unheard of and great to hear.’

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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