NASCAR officials gave driver Ryan Newman medical clearance Monday, officially opening the path to his return to the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford once the 2020 Cup Series season resumes.
Newman indicated in a Sunday interview on FOX that he is healthy following a crash while battling Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin for the lead on the final lap of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February. He spent less than two days in the hospital before his release, walking out of Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, with his daughters by his side.
The 42-year-old driver initially announced he was ready to return to competition during Sunday’s FOX Sports broadcast of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Talladega Superspeedway. The next necessary step came Monday with a one-sentence update from NASCAR: “Ryan Newman has been medically cleared to resume all racing activities.”
For drivers to receive clearance to return to racing after an injury, NASCAR relies on medical experts to decide when a driver may resume activity without restrictions, which he has now received.
“That’s the absolute plan, for sure,” Newman told FOX Sports when asked about his return. “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.”
Newman missed the three NASCAR Cup Series races following Daytona before the sport was forced to postpone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview on NBC’s TODAY Show in March, Newman said he was diagnosed with a bruised brain and was unconscious in his car for a period after the wreck.
Newman is in his second year with Roush Fenway Racing. Last season, Newman drove the No. 6 Ford into the NASCAR Playoffs on the strength of solid, consistent finishes. The veteran known as “Rocket Man” has 18 wins and 51 Busch Pole Awards since his part-time debut in 2000.
Ross Chastain drove the No. 6 in Newman’s absence at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. He logged a best finish of 17th at Auto Club.