LAS VEGAS — What seemed like an eternity was actually 19 seconds.
After Ryan Newman’s battered race car came to rest last Monday at the end of the tri-oval in a brutal wreck at the finish of the Daytona 500, it took only 19 seconds for the first emergency vehicle to arrive, according to a chronology provided by NASCAR officials during a question-and-answer session with reporters on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“The tool truck arrived at the vehicle 19 seconds after it came to rest,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The fireman that you saw with the extinguisher was in that vehicle. One of the three trauma doctors assigned to the safety team for the race arrived at the car at the 33‑second mark, and a paramedic entered the vehicle at the 35‑second mark.
“For the next 3 1/2 minutes, two doctors and paramedics attended to Ryan. At the 4:05 mark, the decision was then made to roll the car over while continuing to help aid the driver. At the 6:56 mark, the car was upright. The extrication team then began cutting the car, and a doctor continued to provide treatment.
“The roof was removed at the 11:10 mark, and the extrication was completed at 15:40, and the driver was then moved to the ambulance for transport. During this entire time, doctors and paramedics were attending to Ryan, except at the moment of the car rollover.”
Newman, who was taken directly to Halifax Medical Center and released from the hospital on Wednesday, may well have benefited from the so-called “Newman bar,” reinforcement for the roll cage that strengthened the roof and the windshield that was implemented after a wreck involving Newman in 2013.
NEWMAN UPDATES: Driver released from hospital after crash
“So when we look at the cars and look back at what we’ve been able to do with the cars as an industry, we’ve been able to make improvements,” said Dr. John Patalak, NASCAR’s senior director of safety engineering. “The one you’ve referenced in 2013 with the additional roll bars and the roof and the windshield area . . . we were also able to do things with the laminate windshield in 2013 and improved window net mounting in 2013.
“All of those things really contribute and work together as an assembly to improve the overall outcomes to what we saw in Daytona.”
“I think, just to add to that, John and I were talking earlier about the fact that Ryan Newman was involved in this accident, with his engineering background, has been someone who we have turned to in many times talking about safety enhancements,” rejoined O’Donnell.
“One of the reasons you won’t hear as many details today is we still haven’t had the chance to go through this with Ryan and his team, with the other drivers in the garage, but Ryan’s feedback as we go through this will be key, and I think that’ll be a key component as it’s always been throughout the process when he’s been racing.”
Both Newman’s car and the No. 32 of Corey LaJoie, which collided with Newman’s Ford as it flipped upside-down, were destroyed in the wreck, and both were taken to NASCAR’s R&D Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection and evaluation.
Reid Spencer writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.
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