Ryan Newman talks 500 crash: "I was knocked out"

Nick DeGroot

Newman is still recovering from a head injury sustained in an airborne crash while leading on the final lap of the 62nd running of the Daytona 500 on February 17. 

He joined the TODAY Show early Wednesday morning to discuss the crash, telling the panel: "Still humbling to watch it (the crash) and know that I'm sitting here without a headache, which is amazing. Just a miracle on so many levels. Thankful to so many people for prayers, for all the things that went into me being safer in that situation."

'I don't remember a part of the race'

Regarding the head injury, which has left him sidelined since the 500 with Ross Chastain filling in behind the wheel of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang, Newman explained that it will take time to heal. 

"Basically like a bruised brain. It just takes time for it to heal. I was knocked out. There was a point where I don't remember a part of the race. Realistically, I just feel so lucky. On so many levels, I feel so lucky."

Although the "cage was comprised" and the seat was impacted during the violent crash, Newman was thankful for all the things that went right. "All those welds held together, so the guys in the shop did an amazing job."

He added: "You look at the crash, you think that's spectacular in a bad way, right? But if you look at the car afterwards, you think about all the things for what happened right for me to be sitting here."

Newman found the entire experience humbling and as he told media at Phoenix Raceway, he is grateful to be alive.

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"It's emotional no doubt. And I think about the fact that I was that close but really in the end I'm really humbled by the opportunity to continue my life, to be blessed by so many people's prayers. To be sitting here and hopefully make something of it and enjoy life with my daughters."

There remains no timetable for his return and Chastain will again pilot the No. 6 car this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But Newman, who has been racing at the top level of NASCAR full-time since 2002, has no intentions of calling it quits.

"Really, I love it. It's been a little bit painful to be out of the race car and to not be doing what I've done for so many years. I started racing when I was four, four and a half years old. That's just who I am."