Update 12:25 p.m. EST Feb. 19: Ryan Newman continued to show "great improvement" as he recovered from injuries he suffered Monday night in a final-lap crash at the Daytona 500 race, his racing team said.
Roush Fenway Racing tweeted a statement that said Newman was "fully alert" and walking around Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. The racing team also tweeted a photo of a smiling Newman with his children.
Update 4:47 p.m. EST Feb. 18: In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Roush Fenway Racing tweeted that Ryan Newman was "awake and speaking" with family members and doctors.
Newman, who was seriously injured in a final-lap wreck during Monday’s Daytona 500 race, remains at the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.
Update 10:13 p.m. EST Feb. 17: In a statement Monday night, NASCAR officials said Newman, 42, was in serious condition, "but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening."
Original report: Newman, 42, has 18 Cup wins, including the 2008 Daytona 500 and 2013 Brickyard 400. He was battling for the lead with Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin on the final lap of the 2.5-mile track at Daytona International Speedway when he crashed.
Newman was in the lead coming into the final turn with Blaney and eventual winner Hamlin in close pursuit, NASCAR.com reported.
Closing in on the finish line, Newman attempted to block Blaney, who was in second place. The impact of the cars touching sent Newman’s car airborne and into the wall. Newman’s car flipped several times and was hit head-on by Corey LaJoie, who sent Newman skidding across the track upside down
Newman's No. 6 Ford crossed the finish line engulfed in flames, ESPN reported.
An ambulance departed Daytona International Speedway’s front stretch at 8:10 p.m. Newman was taken to an area hospital. His condition was unknown.
"I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are, and No. 1, we are praying for Ryan,'' Hamlin said.
“I hope he’s all right,” Blaney told reporters. “I was trying to push him to the win. I don’t like saying that things just happen because I feel really bad about it. It was a close one. I just hope Ryan is all right.”
“I was hoping he would kind of bounce off the fence to the left, but he didn’t and I hit him,” Lajoie said. “I don’t know exactly where I hit him. I haven’t seen a replay. It was some scary stuff.”
Newman, who led 15 laps, was credited with a ninth-place finish.
"We ask that out of respect for privacy that you please do not speculate on Ryan Newman's condition until an official statement has been issued," Roush Yates Engines tweeted.
Kelley Earnhardt, the daughter of Dale Earnhardt Sr., tweeted, "Please let @RyanJNewman be ok!"
Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a final-lap crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001.
Newman, born Dec. 8, 1977, in South Bend, Indiana, was named Winston Cup rookie of the year in 2002, beating Jimmie Johnson, according to his NASCAR biography.
Nicknamed “Rocket Man,” Newman graduated with honors from South Bend La-Salle High School in 1996. He studied engineering at Purdue University but at the same time, continued to race.
Newman was a champion midget racer when he was 17, ran USAC sprint cars and won that division’s Silver Crown championship in 1999.