Ryan Newman may have helped save his own life at the Daytona 500 by pushing for a new NASCAR safety feature in 2009 that became known as the 'Newman bar'

Getty/Chris GraythenRyan Newman.

A safety feature nicknamed after the NASCAR driver Ryan Newman may have helped save his life in his devastating Daytona 500 crash on Monday.

Newman crashed into Ryan Blaney and Corey LaJoie in the final lap of the race in Florida, causing his car to flip in the air, land on its roof, and catch on fire.

The 42-year-old was taken to the hospital in serious condition but was released on Wednesday and appeared largely unscathed, with no visible injuries.

In 2009, after he was involved in a crash in Talladega, Newman campaigned for NASCAR to improve its cars’ safety features to further protect drivers, according to a Pop Culture report.

Here’s Newman’s 2009 crash:

The organisation later added a bar across the front of the roll cage that became known as the “Newman bar,” ESPN reported in May 2013, after a crash in which Kurt Busch’s car landed on top of Newman’s.

“For the third time since 2009, his car went airborne and either landed on another or had another land on his,” ESPN said of Newman. “He has been involved in so many such accidents that NASCAR added what is referred to as the ‘Newman bar’ to the window for extra protection.”

Newman told ESPN at the time that his issue “has and always has been, because I seem to be the reciprocate of whatever airborne disease that we have in NASCAR, is that either somebody lands on me or I land on somebody.”

The auto-industry blog Mac’s Motor City Garage reported on the new feature in 2012, sharing pictures from a staff member of the NASCAR team Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (now Chip Ganassi Racing).

The blog described it as “two full tubes, generously spaced, across the leading edge of the cage in front of the driver’s forehead.”

It’s unclear whether the so-called Newman bar played a direct role in preventing Newman from being seriously injured, but NASCAR fans on Reddit have discussed the possibility at length.

If the bar did play a role, Newman would have been “saved from an upgrade that is named after himself,” one user wrote.

Ryan NewmanAP/David GrahamRescuers help in the aftermath of Newman’s crash on Monday night.

NASCAR is set to update the safety features in its cars next year by moving drivers farther from the doors so they absorb less of the impact of a crash.

LaJoie has praised the organisation and its work to keep drivers safe, telling “Good Morning America” on Tuesday in an interview about Newman’s crash that “the fact that he’s still with us and he can hopefully make a full recovery is just a testament to the NASCAR R&D group and how safe they’re trying to make these race cars.”

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