After a horrifying accident at Daytona, NASCAR driver Ryan Preece has been given medical clearance to return home. The incident took place at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Preece’s car flipped nearly a dozen times during the crash. Approximately 12 hours after the harrowing crash at the Daytona International Speedway, Preece was leaving the hospital to head back home.
Stewart-Haas Racing stated that after receiving approval from doctors at Halifax Health Medical Center, Preece was heading back to North Carolina. Initially, the team reported that Preece was “awake, alert, and talking with family and friends.”
The 32-year-old Preece was able to exit his damaged No. 41 Ford with the help of emergency personnel on Saturday night before being placed on a gurney and into an ambulance. Before being taken to Halifax Health for observation throughout the night, he initially went to the infield care center at the track.
Road to Recovery
Around two hours after the race, Preece tweeted, “If you want to be a race car driver, better be tough… My comeback is coming.”
Preece made contact with SHR teammate Chase Briscoe exiting Turn 4, causing Preece’s car to spin left and then roll over onto the infield grass in a wild barrel roll. The roll cage suffered some minor damage, and all four tires of the car came to a stop in the grass.
Preece’s successful exit from the wreckage marked a testament to NASCAR’s Next Gen car, considered the safest redesign in its 75-year history. In 2022, the car faced criticism for its multi-car incidents, causing havoc among drivers. Kart Busch of 23XI Racing dealt with a life-altering injury during a qualifying accident at Pocono Raceway last summer, and Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman missed five races due to injury.
Several drivers voiced complaints about the violence experienced during such incidents, considering them routine hits and expressing wonder if they too had suffered head injuries.
NASCAR spent the previous year and the offseason testing and implementing changes to limit the G-forces drivers experience. The welcomed changes resulted in significantly fewer incidents and no reports of injury in 2023 races.
Meanwhile, Busch has yet to return to racing and on Saturday, he officially transitioned from the Cup Series at Daytona. Upon retirement, the 45-year-old Busch choked back tears, saying, “His body is just fighting Father Time.”
Busch revealed his battles with arthritis and gout while trying to mitigate the effects of the brain injury sustained from his stock car racing crash a year ago.
Preece’s accident brought memories of Ryan Newman’s horrific crash in the 2020 Daytona 500 back to the surface. Newman was able to leave the hospital a few days later. Since Dale Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, NASCAR’s safety improvements have been proven once again.