“I feel like a complete walking miracle”

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Newman, 42, was wounded in the head in a violent accident in the last lap of the Daytona 500 season opening on February 17 after his No. 6 car flew and was struck by the driver’s side door when landing on the runway.

The car skidded on its burning roof before stopping near the end of the front tri-oval. Newman, however, escaped the incident without injury other than what he called “a bruised brain” and was discharged from the hospital under his own power 48 hours later.

He missed the next three races, but one good thing about the two-month postponement of the NASCAR season due to the COVID-19 pandemic is that he gave Newman time to finish his recovery.

When the 2020 Cup Series season resumes Sunday at the Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Newman will be back at the wheel of the N ° 6 Ford from Roush Fenway Racing.

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“I don’t remember being in the hospital. I couldn’t tell you who came to visit me. I couldn’t tell you who was in the room, “said Newman this week. “But, I remember putting my arms around my daughter’s chest and going out and holding their hands while I was doing this, and it tells me that God was involved.

“It tells me that I have been blessed in more ways than one, and it makes me so thankful for what I have experienced and for having been able to have the people around me that I love and in whom I love.” have confidence thereafter. I don’t even know how to describe it more than that.

“I feel like a complete walking miracle. “

Prepare for NASCAR return

Newman was officially allowed to compete on April 27 by NASCAR and for the past few weeks has participated in a private test in Darlington with his medical team to ensure that he felt comfortable in the car.

Given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, the Sunday race will take place without fans and without any practice or qualification. Basically, the cars will go through the inspection, move to the starting gate and do a few laps before taking the green flag.

“We went down and covered about 30 laps in total. We did two laps of five laps, then we checked the tires, and then we put on another set of tires for a 20 lap race and wanted to see how I felt in the car, “said Newman.

“I had no fear of getting into the car. I was excited to get into the car. It’s my favorite race track and I really wanted to come back and go. I worked very hard to do the things that I had to do at the test level to pass my concussion test and my protocol and things like that.

“The track was really green and very fast. My first five laps of my 20 lap race were faster than last fall’s pole car, so I can manage the speed. “

Newman does not seem concerned about the condensed schedule, which will prevent any chance of finding out before the race.

“You don’t want to be the first guy to break your splitter when entering turn 1 in Darlington when you go into the corner with someone outside of you,” he said. “You just don’t know these things, so you just have to think about it, no different than what you would do if you were in practice.”

“When you enter right next to the wall, let’s just say to a place like Homestead, you go right next to the wall, you don’t do it on your first lap, but you will do it at some point and you will have to make sure that trust you.

“You have to fight your way to that level of confidence and we’ll have a lot of laps in Darlington to do it on Sunday. “

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