Corey LaJoie spoke to Danielle Trotta and Larry McReynolds on Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “On Track’ show. LaJoie, was a part of Monday evening’s frightening last lap crash in the rain delayed Daytona 500 which sent Ryan Newman’s No. 6 Ford airborne and into the hospital as a result.
Newman, moved low to block Ryan Blaney’s run on the low line heading into the tri-oval of the Daytona International Speedway for the final time. That move though sent Newman’s car into the outside SAFER Barrier as LaJoie’s No. 32 Ford slammed into Newman’s at speeds in excess of 190 mph.
LaJoie, had no where to go.
“It was crazy how fast it happened,” LaJoie told Trotta and McReynolds on Thursday. “People don’t realize how much it hurts when you hit something that hard that fast.
“It truly is a miracle the condition that Ryan Newman is in today vs. what we all assumed on Monday night. It goes to show how nasty of a wreck and how good of a job that NASCAR has done to make these cars safer and just the power of prayer, really.”
LaJoie, made note too that the “Newman bar” likely saved both from being far more serious than what they are right now. Newman, who was miraculously released from the hospital on Wednesday, spearheaded a safety initiative that likely saved his life.
A decade ago, Newman was involved in a crazy crash at Talladega in which the Indiana native later called for more help from NASCAR to help the drivers inside of their cars.
Years later, NASCAR listened and added a second bar across the front of the roll cage that would become known as the “Newman bar.” That was an extra added support beam inside of the race car to help against intrusion from another car.
Newman, has been outspoken about race cars getting airborne and felt after three what could have been scary crashes, spoke out in 2013 against the safety, or lack thereof at the time.
“My issue has and always has been, because I seem to be the reciprocate of whatever airborne disease that we have in NASCAR, is that either somebody lands on me or I land on somebody,” he said back in 2010. “We’ve proven it’s not safe for the fans. It’s frustrating, and I think I voiced my frustration very fairly.”
Then, following a crash at Talladega in 2013, he spoke out again.
“I am doing this interview to let everybody know I’m all right,” Newman told reporters on the TV broadcast on ESPN at the time. “They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can’t get their heads out of their asses far enough to keep them on the race track, and that’s pretty disappointing.
“I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y’all can figure out who ‘they’ is.
LaJoie, said that it’s ironic that the guy to spearheaded the extra bar inside of the car saved both of their lives in the same wicked crash.
“I kind of thanked him for flipping at Talladega over a couple of years ago because if it wasn’t for that visor bar, that second roof bar that they put in after that crash that Ryan had, I told him, I said, we would have been able to split the ambulance fare because I would have been right there next to him,” LaJoie said. “There was no telling how bad it could have been.
“I think the previous crashes and the advancements that the R&D Center and the guys at NASCAR have made to make the car safer through that wreck is what really kept him and I both safe.”
LaJoie noted that he doesn’t think any changes need to be made for the four annual stops at Daytona and Talladega each year. That’s part of racing and the cars now are proven to be safe to withstand the contact that they just had and are constantly evolving still too.
“I’m comfortable,” LaJoie continued. “It’s what you sign up for. There’s an element of danger. Like I was explaining to someone the other day, you’re trying to make a 3,600-pound piece of metal go 200 miles an hour, sometimes you’re going to have bad crashes.
“I think it’s a testament to what NASCAR is learning and trying to keep these cars safe because that was the worst, the worst, angle of a crash, the worst area of a car to get hit on Monday night the way Ryan was and for him to be literally to be walking out 36 hours later, why would we change what many would consider the best form of racing that we have in the superspeedways?
“My opinion, we don’t change a thing. We just keep learning from these wild crashes, especially with this new Next Gen car coming in, the cars are even 30-40% safer than this. I’m excited to get into that car and continue to put on a great show for the fans.”