2/17/2020 - Waylon Gautier says he likes to live in the moment. After coming to terms that his favorite driver was out of running at the Daytona 500, standing on pit row, he took out his phone to take a video of the end of the race to share with friends.
His emotions changed in an instant from excitement to realizing he’d captured the end of a dramatic race.
“You get kind of pumped to see a good finish as you’re watching it you see an automobile fly through the air like that with a human in it. Definitely makes you think, it’s scary,” said Gautier.
Suddenly, he realized that the race was no longer about who won "The Great American" Race.
“When the car comes sliding as far as it did all I could think about was oh my gosh. How quick can they get down there to him?” Gautier said.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Ryan Newman, driver of the #6 Koch Industries Ford, flips over as he crashes during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
As the first responders rushed out to the fiery race car, fans stood by in shock. Many race fans were visibly shaken by what they were seeing.
“All I could see was fuel leaking down into a small fire and I was just screaming, I hope they can get down there to him quick enough,” said Gautier.
One woman was in tears.
“It looked terrible and it was terrible. The car was on fire just rolling and crashing and it wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all,” said Kathy Warner.
After the Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway typically feels like a great big party. Not tonight, as fans walked out looking somber, praying for Ryan Newman.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Ryan Newman, driver of the #6 Koch Industries Ford, and Corey LaJoie, driver of the #32 RagingBull.com Ford, crash during the last lap of the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Spe
“I’m super sad, super anxious to find out that Ryan is OK, just constantly in my mind and I keep praying for him and his family,” said Gautier.
Roush Fenway Racing released a statement saying Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center. He is in serious conditions but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening.