Hamlin: "It is A Very Difficult Situation To Be In, To Be Honest"

Ryan Newman was involved in a frightening crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500

The DA Show
February 18, 2020 - 10:10 am

Denny Hamlin won the Dayton 500 on Monday. He has won three of the last five Daytona 500s and is only the fourth driver to ever win the event in back-to-back years. He joins Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95) to have that distinction.

Still, this year’s race might be remembered first and foremost for a frightening crash on the final lap. Ryan Newman’s car hit a wall, flipped, landed upside down, and was hit by another driver, Corey LaJoie. Newman sustained serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

Hamlin was happy to win the Daytona 500, yet was immediately concerned for Newman.

“It is a very difficult situation to be in, to be honest with you,” Hamlin said on The DA Show. “Certainly when we found out as a race team, it definitely changed the mood in victory lane. We didn’t know until we got into victory lane what all was going on, so we were kind of flying blind there for a little while. But luckily we got some good news obviously from the hospital last night.”

When Hamlin crossed the finish line, he had no idea that Newman had crashed.

“Once we crossed the checker there, you’re starting to unstrap and whatnot,” Hamlin said. “We usually do an interview right there at the start-finish line, so I’m taking off my radio, my helmet and all that stuff – so I’m not getting any more communication. So I don’t know anything that’s going on. And then Jamie [Little] from Fox came over and said they’re not going to do the start-finish line interview and to just go straight to victory lane. I knew there was something serious at that point. They briefed me once we got into victory circle, and obviously it certainly changed the mood of myself and the race team at that point.”

Newman’s crash was not the first of the race. A 19-car crash occurred on Lap 184.

“It just kind of thinned the field out,” Hamlin said. “It’s a wreck that we usually see in the Daytona 500 at some point where you’ve got at least 10 cars involved. We run so close together on these super speed ways that when one car turns sideways or gets crossed up, wrecks happen and it’s definitely going to collect a lot of cars with it. We were luckily in a position where I could move down the left and avoid [Brad] Keselowski on the back stretch where he hit the wall. We kind of came out of that one unscathed. At that point when the field was thinned, I thought that we had a great shot to win.”