AVONDALE, Ariz. — Ryan Newman was back at the track Friday, sipping on a Coke and casually strolling through the infield of Phoenix Raceway.

It was hard to believe he was in a terrifying wreck at the Daytona 500 less than three weeks ago.

“It’s great to be alive,” Newman said. “If you look at my car, it’s a miracle.”

The harrowing crash on the last lap at Daytona had many fearing the worst. To the shock of almost everyone, the 42-year-old Newman walked out of a hospital less than 48 hours after the crash, and said he feels “fine” during a short interview Friday as he walked to his hauler.

Newman said he was at the track to support the Roush Fenway Racing team, including Ross Chastain, who has driven his car the last few weeks. He said he has “no idea” when he will return to racing, but he looked forward to having a different vantage point of the team.

“I feel like I should be able to take advantage of this crazy opportunity,” Newman said.

It’s been an emotional few weeks for the sport, especially for drivers like Ryan Blaney and Corey LaJoie, who were directly involved in Newman’s crash. Blaney tried to push Newman to the win at Daytona but instead hooked Newman’s car, causing it to go airborne. LaJoie’s car crashed into Newman’s as it careened down the track.

Newman’s presence in Arizona became known Thursday night when LaJoie posted to social media a picture of Newman, Blaney and himself at Arizona State’s football stadium. Blaney said it was a Ford team-building event and Newman surprised them at dinner.

Blaney said Newman and the Ford group talked about a wide variety of topics, including the crash, his recovery, and how to keep improving the safety of the sport.

“That was the first time I’ve seen Ryan personally (since the crash),” Blaney said. “That was really cool. We sat and talked – the whole Ford group – for an hour, hour and an half when he got there. We talked about a lot of stuff. It was just nice to see him.”

TEAM PENSKE announced that it has agreed to a multiyear extension with Blaney, NASCAR points leader, who is off to the best start of his career.

The 26-year-old driver would have been a free agent at the end of the season.

“I’m really happy with where I’m at, I love the people I’m around, I love working with all the teams,” Blaney said. “I feel like I owed so much to Roger (Penske) for what he’s done for me. I just didn’t really see myself, right now, anywhere else.”

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