Pole sitter Scott Dixon walked away after a ferocious crash that saw his car get airborne and slam cockpit-first into the inside Turn 2 wall and catchfence during Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dixon was clipped by the slowing car of Jay Howard, which had hit the outside wall and was careening back down the track. The contact launched Dixon’s car in the air over three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and into the fencing.
In the aftermath, Dixon’s No. 9 car sustained considerable damage and essentially destroyed, with debris strewn across the track. He immediately climbed from his car and after placing his hands on his knees, he walked to an awaiting ambulance.
Officials placed the race under the red flag to fix the fencing and protective SAFER barrier Dixon landed atop of before settling upright on the track. The race resumed after a 21-minute delay.
The incident capped an eventful week for Dixon, who during his pole-run last weekend recorded the fastest average speed in 21 years at Indianapolis, then a few hours later was robbed at gunpoint while in the drive-thru at a Taco Bell near the track.
“I’m glad everybody’s OK, it was a wild ride for sure,” Dixon said. “I think when we make those decisions of which way to go, you’re hoping that the car (Howard) is going to stay against the wall. It started to turn down, but I’d already picked that way to go. There’s nowhere else to try to avoid them.”
Both Howard and Dixon were evaluated and released from the infield care center. But Dixon later returned with an apparent left ankle injury, and would later leave the care center wearing a walking boot.
Castonevers suffered minimal damage and was able to continue on following quick repairs. He would finish second to race winner Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500.
“I was pretty lucky to avoid that. I'm glad he's okay, because it was a pretty nasty accident,” Castroneves said.