Volusia County

'It’s amazing I’m still here’: Retired driver recalls crash 20 years ago at Daytona International Speedway

Twenty years ago to this day, Geoff Bodine’s truck flipped at Daytona International Speedway during the Daytona 250.

His truck was torn to pieces, but Bodine survived. The last thing he remembered was hitting the wall. He said it was like being on a roller coaster.

“I heard noise, never opened my eyes, never spoke, but I heard noise,” Bodine told Eyewitness News. "I remember thinking, ‘Where am I? Daytona. OK, truck race.’ And I passed out.

He was sent to Halifax Hospital and was in intensive care. It’s the same hospital Ryan Newman was sent to -- and remains in as of Tuesday evening -- after a devastating crash during the final lap of the Daytona 500 Monday night.

Read: Ryan Newman ‘awake and speaking’ in hospital after Daytona 500 crash, racing team says

Bodine’s truck flipped nine times, split apart and burst into flames during the Daytona 250. He remembers right up until he hit the wall, and suffered fractures to his cheek and back, and had a concussion.

“It’s amazing I’m still here,” said Bodine, who is now retired. “It’s not amazing -- God blessed me, saved me, so I’m very fortunate to be here.

“Of course then, everybody thought I was dead, but I reached up," Bodine added. "When I did that, everyone knew I was alive, so that of course was a good thing.”

Bodine missed 10 races, then got behind the wheel again, and raced for another 12 years.

WATCH: Geoff Bodine describes what it was like watching Ryan Newman crash

Watching Newman crash Monday night brought back memories for Bodine.

“When I saw that happen I was like, ‘Wow,’" he said. “He’s in there tight, so let’s pray that he’s going to be OK.”

Bodine said it was a good sign Newman’s car stayed intact, and he hopes Newman makes a full recovery like he did.

“We are all (thankful for) no life-threatening injuries, Ryan, but after that, we just don’t know,” Bodine said.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.