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Ryan Newman update: Driver awake, talking after horrific Daytona 500 crash

Ryan Newman remains in hospital after Daytona 500 crash.

Ryan Newman is awake and speaking with his family and doctors, a day after the a horrific crash during the final lap of Monday’s Daytona 500, his team announced.

Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, released an update shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday that read:

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"Ryan Newman remains under the care of doctors at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona, Florida. He is awake and speaking with family and doctors.

“Ryan and his family have expressed their appreciation for the concern and heartfelt messages from across the country. They are grateful for the unwavering support of the NASCAR community and beyond.”

The major development was a relief for the NASCAR family and fans throughout the country who were unsure about Newman’s status after the crash.

The racing team had previously posted an update shortly before noon Tuesday thanking fans for their support and confirming Newman was still being treated at the hospital less than a mile away from Daytona International Speedway.

The earlier statement read: "On behalf of Roush Fenway Racing and Ryan Newman’s family, we’d like to thank the NASCAR community for the incredible outpouring of support and compassion for Ryan. Your thoughts and prayers have comforted us all.

“Ryan remains at Halifax Medical Center and we will provide further updates on his condition as they become available.”

The racing team had announced late Monday night Newman was in serious condition, but that his injuries were not life-threatening.

No details about the extent of the injuries or prognosis for recovery were released Tuesday.

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“We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and ask that you respect the privacy of Ryan and his family during this time. We appreciate your patience and cooperation and will provide more information as it becomes available," the statement read.

NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell relayed the statement in a press conference, adding, “Certainly on our behalf, we’re going to continue to work with the race team and Ryan’s family to support them in any way that we can. We’d ask that you respect their privacy, and going forward we’ll provide updates as we can, but at this time our thoughts are with Ryan and his family.”

Newman, 42, was bumped by Ryan Blaney during the furious push to the finish line of a race that was extended to 209 laps due to earlier crashes. Newman lost control of his No. 6 Ford and slammed into the wall before going airborne. As Newman’s car descended, the No. 32 car of Corey LaJoie hit the driver’s side of Newman’s car at top speed, sending it airborne again and into multiple rolls.

The car caught fire before emergency crews could put out the fire and work to extract Newman from the vehicle.

LaJoie appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday saying, "I didn’t even know who I hit because you’re concentrating on trying to get a good finish and nobody realizes how fast 200 mph is or how light or how uncontrollable these cars are when you get out of shape. I didn’t even know who I hit or what the extent of the crash was until after I got out of the infield care center.

“Until somebody told me that Ryan, they took him straight to the hospital, I was obviously nervous. ... It was obviously a very scary crash, but the fact that he’s still with us, and he can hopefully make a full recovery is just a testament to the NASCAR R&D group and how safe they try to make these race cars.”

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While fantastic crashes are a fixture in racing, replays of the collision sent a chill through Daytona International Speedway. Newman’s team was in tears while fellow drivers began praying for him.

More than a dozen emergency workers helped move Newman into an ambulance. Streets between the track and the hospital were closed as Newman was transported for further treatment.

About two hours after the race amid mounting concerns about Newman’s safety, his Roush Fenway Racing team released the statement about Newman’s status at the hospital.

NASCAR had previously canceled the press conference and breakfast traditionally held for the Daytona 500 winner the morning after the race once storms forced the event to be completed on Monday rather than Sunday.

The Monday night finish left drivers uneasily moving on to the next race on the NASCAR schedule Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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