PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — As NASCAR racer Ryan Newman gets out of the hospital and home to family, local racers are getting behind the wheel.
"I don't think there's anything quite like it, and I've grown up around racing my whole life," racer Cody Swanson said.
Swanson has been racing for more than 20 years. Lap by lap, he says he's living out a dream.
"It's really is something that is what we live to do. We live to do it on the weekends and enjoy every chance we get to," Swanson said.
Most racers at Showtime Speedway in Pinellas Park are just a step behind NASCAR racers. They know their life is in their hands every time they strap in.
"It happens I wouldn't say quite often, but you see it you know being around it over the years," racer Cody Stickler said.
Stickler is right from the Tampa Bay area. He's been racing for almost 13 years. He says crashes are something they put out of their mind while they compete. Crashes during NASCAR races like the one that caught Newman's car on fire bring safety to the forefront.
"It doesn't scare me much because of the equipment we have now. The full containment seats which is the head restraints and all of that. That has been one of the major things in racing in the past 10-15 years. They're really helpful on the neck and keep the neck from snapping," Stickler said.
Whenever cars are getting ready to race at the Speedway, the owner of the track will not let them go on and race unless his paramedics are on scene. Safety is his top priority.
Swanson says it should be on racers' minds, but he hopes it doesn't scare anyone away from the sport.
"You get so many emotions right? Ryan, I know he's a father, I'm a father, I've got two little ones and I know Ryan. He's been a teammate to my brother. Things can happen any time any division so it's one of those things that you need to think about, but you know its there," Swanson said.
There will be races at Showtime Speedway all throughout the weekend. The Newman family is thankful to have their dad back home tonight.
NASCAR driver Ross Chastain will replace Newman in the No. 6 car this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
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