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Las Vegas NASCAR driver witnesses horrific crash

Brendan Gaughan shaken after Ryan Newman crash
NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500
Posted at 12:04 AM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 18:44:53-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas resident and NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan is shaken after witnessing the crash involving his friend Ryan Newman at the Daytona 500 race in Florida.

Gaughan spoke with 13 Action News hours after the crash happened and he learned Newman was hospitalized in serious condition.

"[Ryan] Newman went right over me," Gaughan said. "I didn't know who it was, I just knew a race car went right over the top of me; literally went right over my head. I even ducked. It was that close."

Newman's car flipped before it slammed into the track during the race's final lap. His car burned as it skidded to a stop.

Safety crews rushed to extract the 42-year-old from the vehicle.

"It definitely hits home for me," Gaughan said. "With any luck, we're gonna hear Newman is holding his children within the next few hours, and that he's doing well. I always try to stay positive."

Gaughan didn't have much to say about his 7th place finish. Instead, he offered prayers, but called this crash a "worst-case scenario."

"The only dangerous thing is if you get hit on the top of the roof," Gaughan said. "That is the one part of our racecars that is not made for that sort of an impact. That is exactly where Newman got hit."

Gaughan says Newman will be on his mind as he heads to Las Vegas for Sunday's Pennzoil 400.