Ryan Newman (6) suffered a head injury after a fiery crash in NASCAR's season-opening race on Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo
April 26 (UPI) -- Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman said Sunday he will be ready to return to the track when NASCAR resumes its season, which could be as early as May 17.
Newman sustained a head injury after a fiery crash in NASCAR's season-opening race on Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. He spent less than 48 hours in the hospital before walking out with his two daughters.
Before Sunday's eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event, Newman told FOX Sports that he is completely healthy and will be ready to race when competition resumes.
"That's the absolute plan, for sure. I am healthy," Newman said. "I have been blessed with another layer of this [coronavirus] situation giving me more time to heal, and I look forward to being back in the seat, for sure."
Newman, 42, was the race leader on the final lap of the Daytona 500 when he was bumped by Ryan Blaney just before the finish line, sending him into the outside wall and into an airborne spin while upside down.
Newman's car flipped several times and was sliding on its side when Corey LaJoie, traveling at full speed, slammed into it. His car crossed the finish line on its roof before coming to a stop.
Newman was removed from the car and taken to the hospital by an ambulance with injuries that were described as serious but not life-threatening. In an interview on NBC's TODAY Show in March, Newman said he was diagnosed with a bruised brain and briefly lost consciousness after the wreck.
NASCAR said in a statement that Newman has yet to be cleared by the series to return.
"We share Ryan's enthusiasm in his return to the track," the statement said. "We look forward to Ryan returning to racing as soon as he is medically cleared to race."
Ross Chastain drove the No. 6 Ford in place of Newman for three races before the NASCAR season was temporarily suspended on March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
NASCAR is hoping to resume its season without spectators as early as May 17.