Drivers were stricken with concern, including a rattled Corey LaJoie, the driver who hit Newman’s car as it was flipping.
“Dang I hope Newman is OK,” he posted on Twitter. “That is worst case scenario and I had nowhere to go but [into] smoke.”
Hamlin is the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win consecutive Daytona 500s, but his celebration in victory lane was subdued.
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are and number one, we are praying for Ryan,” Hamlin said.
Runner-up Blaney said with Newman surging ahead of Hamlin on the final lap, Blaney locked in behind Newman in a move of brand alliance for Ford.
“We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from the 11 … I was committed to just pushing him to the win and having a Ford win it and got the bumpers hooked up wrong,” he said. “It looked bad.”
NASCAR gave no immediate announcement on Newman’s status and officials moved bystanders away from the crash scene.
Hamlin had eight Ford drivers lined up behind him as the leader on the second overtime shootout without a single fellow Toyota driver in the vicinity to help him.
It allowed Newman to get past him for the lead, but the bumping in the pack led to Newman’s hard turn right into the wall, followed by multiple rolls and a long skid across the finish line.
It wasn’t until Fox Sports told Hamlin they would not interview him on the frontstretch after his burnouts that he learned Newman’s incident was bad.
“It’s a weird balance of excitement and happiness for yourself, but someone’s health and their family is bigger than any win in any sport,” he said.
“We are just hoping for the best.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs apologised after the race for the winning team celebration.
“We didn’t know until victory lane,” Gibbs said. ‘‘Racing, we know what can happen, we just dream it doesn’t happen. We are all just praying now for the outcome on this.’’
Hamlin’s third Daytona 500 win put him alongside six Hall of Fame drivers as winners of three or more Daytona 500s.