Ryan Newman says he’s ready to return; NASCAR gives him clearance

ROSSBURG, OH - JULY 18: Ryan Newman, driver of the #3 RyanNewmanVRExperience/MotoShieldPro Chevrolet, stands by his truck during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway on July 18, 2018 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

No one knows when NASCAR will return to a real track, but Ryan Newman said Sunday when they do, he’ll be ready.

The driver of the No. 6 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford appeared on FOX Sports’ pre-race coverage of the NASCAR iRacing Challenge Pro Invitational race at a virtual Talladega Superspeedway.

Newman was injured in a last lap crash at the season opening Daytona 500 in February.  After a lengthy extrication from his destroyed racecar, Newman was taken directly to a local hospital.  He walked out of that same hospital just a few days later.

Newman missed the next three races before the sport went into a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The only racing since then has been the virtual kind, but reports are that racing will return in the middle of May.

“I’m so excited and thankful all at the same time,” Newman said Sunday. “I’m so excited to be healthy and at some point get back in the racecar when the world starts turning again and thankful for all the people and support I’ve got, friends family, fans you name it that have prayed for me and have given me this multitude of miracles that has given me this opportunity to get back in the seat at some point.”

When racing does return, Newman said he will be ready to return with it.

“That’s the absolute plan for sure,” Newman said. “I’m healthy. I’ve been blessed with another layer of this situation giving me more time to heal and look forward to being back in the seat for sure.”

The driver who filled in for Newman, Ross Chastain, tweeted soon after:

“I’m happy Ryan is returning to the No. 6 when NASCAR resumes. He has a wonderful team around him and it’ll be great to see him back competing.

Thanks to Jack, RFR and all their sponsors for letting me keep his seat warm while he was making his recovery.”

NASCAR, however, may have something to say about the return.  Shortly after he revealed the news, NASCAR issued a statement.

“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.”

Late Monday however they provided an update in a statement which read, “Ryan Newman has been medically cleared to resume all racing activities.”

With no racing taking place in the real world, there is little doubt that Newman will have plenty of time to get the clearance he needs and will be part of the field, whenever racing does return.

Greg Engle