CHARLOTTE, NC. — Ryan Newman’s car spins, goes airborne and flips several times during a fiery crash at the Daytona 500 on Monday. He’s now awake and speaking as doctors in Florida treat him for series injuries.
Newman’s accident is considered the most violent wreck in Daytona since Dale Earnhardt’s death on February 18th, 2001. After his death, NASCAR made changes and upgrades to cars to keep drivers safe.
Including making it mandatory to use head and neck restraints.
“Because that keeps your head from snapping forward which is what caused his death,” says head mechanic at Seat Time Racing Bill Kelly.
“The entire cage moved back also because most impacts are in the nose. Like the person that did hit him yesterday.”
Another change is that the driver’s seat has been moved more towards the middle of the car to create a buffer for any damage that could happen during a crash to not hit the driver.
Andy Petree with Richard Childress Racing says technology in the cars will continue to improve.
“We’re working on the next generation car for NASCAR. We’ve actually built the cars and done a lot of testing. That car is going to be yet another step to be safer,” says Petree.
Petree did not give specifics about the next generation of race cars. He does say tracks have safer barriers. Cars also have wider roofs and bigger cockpit areas.