NASCAR Outlines Newman’s Crash Response, Will Look At Everything To Ensure Safety Standards

LAS VEGSA, NV — NASCAR officials met with the media on Saturday morning at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to discuss Ryan Newman’s frightening last lap crash during last Monday’s Daytona 500. One thing though that they wouldn’t discuss is the extent to Newman’s injuries, but we may get more light on that when Steve Newmark from Roush Fenway Racing meets with the media at 12:45 p.m. ET on Sunday.

But, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer says that other than no changes being done to the overtime rules, everything is on deck for discussion on how to make sure that the races are enjoyable and full of entertainment for the fans but safe for the teams and drivers too.

O’Donnell, praised the safety initiatives already taken to allow Newman to walk out of the hospital on Wednesday in Daytona, but they’re looking at everything in terms of superspeedway racing to help understand why the cars continue to lift and how they can do their best to ensure that they remain grounded in a crash.

Is it speeds? Is it the cars?

Then, they’re going to look and talk to the drivers and see if there’s anything that they can do on their end. O’Donnell, has seen and heard the same things that we all have in that drivers race differently on these types of tracks. Is the car fine, but blocking or pushing or even not being wise and staying on the throttle instead of lifting putting drivers in harms way.

Everything is open for discussion before heading to Talladega Superspeedway in April. O’Donnell, said that he does stand by their caution procedures despite some saying that a caution should have been thrown for Chase Elliott’s incident in Turn 1 on the last lap.

Elliott’s car was able to continue on, but some are arguing that if they went ahead and threw out the yellow, the same car that won the race (Denny Hamlin) would have ended up winning anyways because he was out front at the time of the incident.

It’s damn if you do, damn if you don’t though. If NASCAR throws the yellow out, they get chastised for it. You and I know that. If they don’t throw the caution and we get what we saw, they get chastised for it too.

O’Donnell, came to the press conference with John Bobo, VP of racing operations and John Patalek, senior direction of safety engineers. Bobo’s duties include overseeing the sanctioning body’s medial policies and procedures while Patalek’s is for all safety functions and the R&D Center.

They outlined the timeline of Newman’s crash.

The safety truck arrived on the scene 19 seconds after Newman’s car came to rest.

One of the three trauma doctors arrived 33 seconds after Newman’s car came to rest.
A paramedic entered Newman’s car two seconds later.
For the next 3 1/2 minutes, two doctors and a paramedic attended to Newman.
The decision was made to roll Newman’s car over while continuing to aid the driver 4 minutes, 5 seconds after the car came to rest.
The car was rolled over and the extrication team began cutting the roof as a doctor continued to provide treatment to Newman 6:56 after car came to rest.
The roof was removed from the car 11:10 after Newman’s car came to rest.
The extrication of Newman completed 15:40 after the car came to rest.
During the entire time doctors and paramedics were attending to Newman except when the car was rolled over.

The cars of Newman and Corey LaJoie’s on Tuesday were then taken to the R&D Center for data.

“On Tuesday, that started with the laying out of the vehicles in a secure space, where we have all the components and associated elements that come from the cars on the race track as well as the driver’s safety equipment,” Patalek said. “Really starting from the outside of the vehicles, slowing working our way in and assessing each of the individual safety systems and how they’ve performed individually, as well as together as a complete assembly, then ultimately how the two cars interacted together during the crash.”

Patalek listed “many sources of data” NASCAR is using during the investigation:

  • The incident data recorder in each car.
  • Footage from the high-speed camera that is inside each Cup car and pointed at the driver to see what a driver goes through in a collision.
  • ECU data and available telemetry data from the cars.
  • broadcast and non-broadcast video sources.

“We’re currently working on synchronizing all of those data sets together in time … to create full picture of what happened as the crash unfolded,” Patalek said. “We’re working together with Roush Fenway Racing as well as outside experts as we continue to investigate and look forward to being able to provide more information sometime soon.”

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