On Wednesday, just a week after he was released from the hospital, the NASCAR star, 42, was greeted with cheers as he made an appearance at his team shop in Concord, North Carolina.
“So we had a special visitor today,” a tweet from Roush Fenway Racing’s account read, alongside photos of Newman. “Great to see @RyanJNewman back at the shop and receiving a standing ovation by all!”
Newman — dressed casually in a plaid jacket, dark jeans and cap — can be seen addressing Roush Fenway Racing staffers in several candid shots.
In another picture, the driver appears to be in good spirits as he gives a thumbs up to the camera.
Newman left the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida on Feb. 19, just two days after he was involved in a wreck with driver Corey LaJoie during the final lap at the Daytona International Speedway. He was “awake and speaking with family and doctors” by Feb. 18, Roush Fenway Racing shared in a statement that day.
On Sunday, Newman said in a statement delivered by Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark that he “was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones” in the harrowing accident.
“I did sustain a head injury for which I’m currently being treated. The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days,” continued Newman in the statement, which Newmark read ahead of a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Newman thanked “everyone involved in my care, especially the staff at Halifax Medical Center,” saying the “trained professionals” at the hospital “played a major role in where I’m sitting today.”
He continued by expressing gratitude to those who built his car in a way that may have ultimately helped him survive the crash, saying, “I am truly indebted to each of you and it is unlikely I will ever be able to properly express to you how much the diligent effort with which you conduct your craftmanship has affected me and my family.”
“I hope you took pride in the photograph of me walking out of the hospital hand-in-hand with my daughters on Wednesday,” Newman shared, referencing a sweet photo his team had previously tweeted. “Thank you. I can’t wait to get back in your race car.”
In the statement, the professional racer also said he has since “spoken with [Roush Fenway Racing founder, CEO and co-owner] Jack Roush and he has assured me that the No. 6 car will be waiting and ready for my return,” concluding, “I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford.”
A driver hasn’t died in a NASCAR race since Dale Earnhardt at the Daytona 500 in 2001.
Since Earnhardt’s death 19 years ago at the age of 49, the racing league has taken steps to increase driver safety — including enforcing helmet rules and creating improved barriers around the track to absorb more impact safely.