List of fatalities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The following is a list of 75 individuals killed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: 42 drivers, one motorcyclist, 13 riding mechanics, and 19 others including a pit crew member,a pilot, track personnel, and spectators. All fatalities are related to Championship Car races at the speedway unless otherwise noted.
Fatalities have occurred in conjunction with the Indianapolis 500 and its precursors, the Brickyard 400, the Moto GP event, the Speedway's golf course, and during private testing. During World War I, while the speedway was being used as a landing strip and a maintenance and refueling station for the 821st Aero Repair Squadron, at least one test pilot was fatally injured in a plane crash at the track.
|Name||Role||Date of accident||Sanction||Event||Session||Course of events|
|Wilfred Bourque||Driver||August 19, 1909||AAA||Prest-O-Lite Trophy||Race||On the 58th lap of the 250-mile race, Wilfred "William" Bourque glanced backwards momentarily at other cars on the frontstretch. A wheel then slipped, hit a rut, and the car flipped over in a ditch. Both Bourque and his riding mechanic Harry Holcomb were trapped under the car and suffered soon-fatal injuries. |
|Harry Holcomb||Riding mechanic|
|Claude Kellum||Riding mechanic||August 21, 1909||AAA||Wheeler-Schebler Trophy||Race||During the 300-mile race, Claude Kellum first served as the riding mechanic for Johnny Aitken, who was forced to retire with a cracked cylinder head after 40 laps. Kellum then relieved Robert Lyne as the riding mechanic for Charlie Merz. While driving down the frontstretch, Merz blew a tire, and the car flipped up into the stands, pinning Merz underneath. He escaped injury. Kellum was thrown from the car, and died from his injuries an hour later. Spectators Howard H. Jolliff, 20, of Franklin, Indiana, and James West, 38, of Indianapolis, were also killed by the crashed car. Following another accident, the race was abandoned after 235 miles.|
|Tom Kincaid||Driver||July 6, 1910||National race car test||Testing||Tommy Kincaid went off the embankment at the southeast turn and was crushed to death by his machine.|
|Sam Dickson||Riding mechanic||May 30, 1911||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Sam Dickson was the riding mechanic for Arthur Greiner and was the first person killed during the Indianapolis 500. On lap twelve, one of the front wheels came off of the American Simplex car Greiner was driving, causing him to lose control and both men to be thrown from the car. While Greiner escaped with a broken arm, Dickson flew into a fence 20 feet (6.1 m) from the car. Reports state that Dickson was killed instantly, although the crowd evidently swarmed around the body, requiring the state militia who were acting as security at the event to use their guns as clubs to clear a path for the attending doctors.|
|Harry Martin||Driver||June 26, 1913||Stutz race car test||Testing||After a tire on the car Harry Martin was driving had blown out, the car crashed into the outside wall and overturned, pinning Martin and his riding mechanic Frank Agan under the wreckage. The latter survived serious injuries while Martin was killed instantly.|
|Albert Johnson||Driver||October 4, 1915||Packard race car test||Testing||A tire failure caused the car Albert Johnson was driving to roll over several times. He died on the operating table early the next morning. Johnson's riding mechanic Ross Robinson was injured.
09-25-1918 Captain Joseph Joel Hammond (Pilot) Crashed in the infield flying an Aeroplane demonstration to raise awareness for the need to buy war bonds to support World War I. Invited by Carl Fisher, Hammonds family in New Zealand didn't have the money to call for the body of the dead Captain. Fisher fired off a telegraph to Crown Hill Cemetery instructing the placement of the Captain in chamber 1 of the recently completed Fisher Mausoleum in Section 13. Fisher intended this to be a short term solution. The captain rests in the Mausoleum today, just 117 days from the 100ht anniversary of his death.
|Arthur Thurman||Driver||May 31, 1919||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Arthur Thurman's car turned over on lap 45, and he was killed instantly. His riding mechanic Nicholas Molinaro survived critical injuries.|
|Louis LeCocq||Louis LeCocq's car turned over on lap 96, causing the fuel tank to rupture and burst into flames. He was killed along with his riding mechanic Robert Bandini.|
|Robert Bandini||Riding mechanic|
|Bert Shoup||Spectator||May 30, 1923||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||On lap 22, Tom Alley, driving Earl Cooper's entry, wrecked on the backstretch, going through the wall, and killed 16-year-old spectator Bert Shoup of Lafayette, Indiana. Alley and two other spectators were injured.|
|Herbert Jones||Driver||May 27, 1926||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Qualifying||After making contact with the northwest retaining wall, Herbert Jones's car shot across the track to the inside, tumbled and came to a stop upside down with Jones trapped inside. He suffered a fractured skull, and died the following day.|
|Bill Spence||Driver||May 30, 1929||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Bill Spence turned over in turn two on lap ten, throwing him from the car. He was taken unconscious from the track, but died of a fractured skull en route to the hospital.|
|Paul Marshall||Riding mechanic||May 30, 1930||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Paul Marshall was serving as the riding mechanic for his brother Cy Marshall when their car crashed in turn three on lap 29. Cy Marshall was seriously injured, but survived while Paul Marshall was killed.|
|Joe Caccia||Driver||May 26, 1931||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Joe Caccia lost control entering turn two, crashed through the outside wall, and hurtled 100 feet (30 m) down the embankment, crashing into a tree. Both Caccia and his riding mechanic Clarence Grove were thrown from the car, which burst into flames, enveloping both, and struck the racers when landing. They died at the scene.|
|Clarence Grove||Riding mechanic|
|Wilbur Brink||Bystander||May 30, 1931||Race||On lap 162, defending Indianapolis 500 winner Billy Arnold, while leading, broke his rear axle as he negotiated the fourth turn. He lost control of his car and tumbled over the fourth turn wall. In the process, the rear tire from the broken axle was sent sailing in the air and out of the track. The tire bounced over the fence of the speedway and over the Brinks's house across the street, located on 2316 Georgetown Road. The tire landed on Wilbur Brink's head, killing him instantly. Brink was an 11-year-old boy playing in his backyard. Arnold and his riding mechanic Spider Matlock were injured.|
|Harry Cox||Riding mechanic||May 25, 1932||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Qualifying||Warming up his racer, in which Joe Caccia and Clarence Grove had been killed the year before, Bennie Benefiel crashed in turn one and went over the outside wall. The car fell 18 feet (5.5 m) to the ground and crashed into trees. Benefiel was seriously injured and his riding mechanic Harry Cox was killed.|
|M. C. Jones||Driver||May 27, 1932||Practice||Going into turn three, the car Milton Jones was driving spun, and hit the outside wall backwards. It flipped up into the concrete wall, and rolled over several times. Both Jones and his riding mechanic Harold Gray were thrown from the car. Jones died in the hospital about six hours after the crash, while Gray survived, having sustained a broken arm and internal injuries.|
|Bill Denver||Driver||May 28, 1933||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Qualifying||Bill Denver and his riding mechanic Bob Hurst were killed on a warm-up lap in preparation for a qualifying run.|
|Bob Hurst||Riding mechanic|
|Mark Billman||Driver||May 30, 1933||Race||On the 79th lap, Mark Billman in the Kemp-Mannix Special skidded on the southeast turn, hit the outside wall and finally came to rest with the car astride the wall. He was pinned between the left front wheel and the wall and it took 20 minutes to get him out. His left arm was torn off, both legs were broken and he was internally injured. In spite of blood transfusions, Billman died an hour later. His riding mechanic Elmer Lombard, who was catapulted out of the car, was not seriously hurt.|
|Lester Spangler||Les Spangler and his riding mechanic "Monk" Jordan were killed in a crash on the 132nd lap. The car of Malcolm Fox spun coming out of turn one, and was rolling slowly towards the top of the track. Spangler tried to get by on the outside, but ran out of room and plowed into Fox's car head-on at over 100 mph (160 km/h). Spangler's car rolled over while still maintaining its speed, ejecting its occupants, both of whom were killed. Fox and his riding mechanic Burton Cook were slightly injured.|
|G. L. Jordan||Riding mechanic|
|Peter Kreis||Driver||May 25, 1934||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Entering turn one, a car in front of Peter Kreis spun, followed by Kreis's car spinning, possibly due to his trying to avoid a collision. The car went over the outside wall backwards, tumbled, and hit a tree. Both Kreis and his riding mechanic Bob Hahn were dead when the ambulance arrived. Kreis was a wealthy contractor who took a month off each year to drive in the 500.|
|Bob Hahn||Riding mechanic|
|Johnny Hannon||Driver||May 21, 1935||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Johnny Hannon was a rookie driver, making his first practice run. On his first lap at racing speed, he lost control of the car, and went over the turn three wall. He was thrown from the vehicle, which then landed on top of him. Hannon was killed instantly from a fractured skull while his riding mechanic Oscar Reeves was seriously injured. This accident led to the speedway requiring rookie tests in subsequent years.|
|Stubby Stubblefield||Qualifying||Stubby Stubblefield's car rode over the wall in turn two, and flipped over, ejecting both him and his riding mechanic Leo Whitaker. The car ended up upside down and leaning against a fence, largely destroyed. The two racers died on the way to the hospital.|
|Leo Whitaker||Riding mechanic|
|Clay Weatherly||Driver||May 30, 1935||Race||Clay Weatherly was driving the same car in which Johnny Hannon had suffered a fatal crash nine days earlier while practicing. Moreover, in a practice run the throttle had stuck, forcing Weatherly to kill the engine to avoid another crash. On lap nine of the race Weatherly crashed into the wall in turn four near Stand H, turned over, and both the driver and mechanic were thrown onto the track. Weatherly was already dead when rescue crews arrived. His riding mechanic Francis Bradburn was critically injured but survived.|
|Otto Rohde||Spectator||May 28, 1937||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Qualifying||The car of Overton Phillips burst into flames when its crankshaft broke and punctured the gas tank. Phillips then crashed into the pit area, killing George Warford, 42, of Indianapolis, who was standing there. Injured were Phillips and his riding mechanic Walter King, Anthony Caccia, the brother of Joe Caccia, who had died in practice for the 1931 race, and Otto Rohde, 49, of Toledo, Ohio, a crew member for Champion Spark Plug. Rohde succumbed to his injuries five days later on June 2, 1937.|
|Albert Opalko||Riding mechanic||Having completed four of ten scheduled qualifying laps, Frank McGurk's car plunged through an inner rail, overturned and ejected both McGurk, who was hospitalized in serious condition but survived, and his riding mechanic Albert Opalko, who was killed. The crash was caused by a broken connecting rod. Opalko is the most recent driver to be fatally injured during an official qualifying run — all subsequent fatalities during time trials have occurred on warm-up laps, prior to receiving the green flag to officially start the respective runs.|
|Everett Spence||Spectator||May 30, 1938||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Standing on a truck, Everett Spence, 33, of Terre Haute, Indiana, was struck and killed by a wheel off of Emil Andres' car in turn two. On lap 45, Andres's car hit the wall in turn two, then flipped over several times, causing its right front wheel to fly off. The wheel traveled 100 feet (30 m) through the air and hit Spence, who was pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital. Andres suffered a concussion, broken nose, and chest injuries.|
|Floyd Roberts||Driver||May 30, 1939||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Floyd Roberts was on lap 109, when the car driven by Bob Swanson lost control coming out of turn two and went sideways. Roberts's car contacted Swanson's, causing the latter to flip over and catch fire, ejecting Swanson, while Roberts's car went through the outer wall and straight into a tree. Chet Miller's car went into the debris field, flipped, and went into the inner wall. Two spectators were injured by flying debris. The three drivers were taken to hospitals, while it took over 30 minutes to clear the burning wreck of Swanson's car from the track. Roberts was declared at Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis to have died instantly due to brain injuries. His death was announced before the race was completed.|
|Lawson Harris||Riding mechanic||September 20, 1939||Tire test||Testing||Babe Stapp had completed eight laps, when a mechanical failure occurred in the front of his car (possibly a broken axle or rod), causing it to veer into the wall in the southwest turn at approximately 115 mph (185 km/h). Stapp's riding mechanic Lawson Harris was thrown from the car, and suffered fatal head injuries. Stapp sustained bruises and facial lacerations.|
|George Bailey||Driver||May 7, 1940||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||George Bailey lost control of his rear-engined Miller and skidded sideways into a concrete wall. It spun back across the track and hit the inside guard rail, causing the gas tank to explode. Bailey died of third-degree burns a little later.|
|Shorty Cantlon||Driver||May 30, 1947||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Race||Shorty Cantlon swerved to avoid Bill Holland's car, which had gone onto the inside grass and skidded back across the track. Cantlon's car went into the outside wall nearly head-on, causing him severe chest, leg and internal injuries. He died at the track hospital shortly afterward.|
|Ralph Hepburn||Driver||May 16, 1948||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Ralph Hepburn's Novi became loose and swerved towards the infield entering turn three. Hepburn tried to correct it as he drove over the infield grass, causing the car to turn sharply to the right, and it hit the outside wall head-on at approximately 130 mph (210 km/h). A physician on the scene said Hepburn died instantly from a skull fracture and crushed chest, and it took about twenty minutes to remove Hepburn's body from the car.|
|George Metzler||Driver||May 28, 1949||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||George Metzler crashed in turn one. He died of his injuries at a hospital six days later.|
|Chet Miller||Driver||May 15, 1953||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||After practicing all day, at 3:15 p.m., Chet Miller was clocked with a lap of 138.46 mph (222.83 km/h) in his Novi Special. Going into turn one, he went too low, and the left-front wheel got into the apron and the car started skidding. The back end came around, and the car crashed into the outside wall nearly head-on in a crash similar to Ralph Hepburn's 1948 Novi crash. It rode along the wall and came to a stop on the south short chute. Miller died of a basilar skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage.|
|Carl Scarborough||May 30, 1953||Race||During one of the hottest runnings of the 500, Carl Scarborough expired from what was reported as heat prostration. According to speedway historian Donald Davidson, when Scarborough pulled into the pits, smoke or a small fire may have broken out on the car, wherein crews quickly doused with fire extinguishers. In the process, Scarborough may have inhaled CO2, which may have contributed to, or been the actual cause of death.|
|Manny Ayulo||Driver||May 16, 1955||AAA||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Smashing into the retaining wall on the southwest turn, Manuel Ayulo sustained critical injuries. He died the following day.|
|Bill Vukovich||May 30, 1955||Race||Bill Vukovich, the two-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, was leading the race when Rodger Ward broke his axle and spun his car on the backstretch near turn three, and came to a stop in the middle of the backstretch. Behind him was Al Keller and Johnny Boyd. Keller panicked, swerved off the course, came back on and T-boned the car of Boyd, pushing it into the path of Vukovich, who was attempting to lap the other three drivers. Vukovich's car ran over the right rear tire of Boyd's, sending both airborne. Boyd's and Vukovich's cars struck the golf course bridge (which has been replaced with a tunnel), with Boyd's car striking upside down and Vukovich's striking driver's side up. After landing, Vukovich's car hit and went over the outer wall, sending it into a high-speed cartwheel outside the track. His car clipped a couple of spectators' vehicles and eventually came to rest upside down and in flames. Vukovich died instantly of a basilar skull fracture.|
|Keith Andrews||Driver||May 15, 1957||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Keith Andrews was hired as a back-up driver to Giuseppe Farina. Entering turn four, Andrews got low under the white line. His car spun and slid into the inside retaining wall. The car rebounded, then slid back into the inside wall. The back end of the car shoved Andrews up against the steering wheel, breaking his neck and killing him.|
|Pat O'Connor||Driver||May 30, 1958||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Race||On the opening lap, a 15-car pileup occurred in turn three. According to A. J. Foyt, Pat O'Connor's car hit that of Jimmy Reece, sailed 50 feet (15 m) in the air, landed upside down, and burst into flames. Although O'Connor was badly burned in the accident, medical officials said that he was probably killed instantly from a fractured skull. Rookie Indianapolis 500 announcer Lou Palmer called the first-lap crash for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Palmer had been placed in turn three because "nothing ever happens there".|
|Jerry Unser||Driver||May 2, 1959||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Jerry Unser Jr. lost control coming out of turn four. The car spun and hit the outside and inside walls. The fuel tank was punctured and the car caught fire, and Unser was taken to the hospital with burns. He died of his injuries about two weeks later on Sunday, May 17. His death would lead the Speedway to require fireproof uniforms to be worn by all drivers while on the track.|
|Bob Cortner||May 19, 1959||On Monday, May 18, Bob Cortner passed his rookie test. The next day, Cortner took to the track for a practice run. Johnny Parsons, who observed the accident, reported that the wind was blowing hard and that Cortner got caught in a crosswind. The car slid to the infield before shooting back across the track head-on into the outside wall. Cortner's face hit the steering wheel and it appeared he began bleeding internally. He was pronounced dead that evening, the cause being listed as "massive head injuries". Cortner's death came only two days after Jerry Unser had succumbed to his injuries.|
|William Craig||Spectator||May 30, 1960||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Race||Two spectators in the infield, Fred H. Linder, 36, of Indianapolis, and William C. Craig, 37, of Zionsville, Indiana, were killed, and as many as 82 were injured, when a homemade scaffolding collapsed. Approximately 125-130 patrons had paid a small fee ($5–$10) to view the race from the 30 feet (9.1 m) tall scaffolding, erected by a private individual (Wilbur Shortridge Jr.) and not the speedway - a practice that was allowed at the time. During the parade lap as the field drove by, the people on the platform began to lean and wave at the cars, which caused the scaffolding to become unstable. It soon tipped forward and fell to the ground, crushing people who were underneath the structure, and the 125-130 people who were on it either fell or jumped to the ground. Linder and Craig were pronounced dead of broken necks, and over 80 were injured, about 22 seriously.|
|Tony Bettenhausen||Driver||May 12, 1961||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Tony Bettenhausen was testing a Stearly Motor Freight Special for his friend Paul Russo. Down the main stretch, the car smashed into the outside wall of the track and then rolled 325 feet (99 m) along the barrier. The car came to rest entangled in the fence on top of the wall in front of Grandstand A, with the tail of the car on fire. Results showed the accident was caused by an anchor bolt which fell off the front radius rod support, allowing the front axle to twist and mis-align the front wheels when the brakes were applied. Bettenhausen was killed instantly.|
|John Masariu||Firefighter||May 30, 1961||Race||On the 127th lap, Eddie Johnson spun out in turn four, but did not suffer significant damage and he was not injured. A small fire broke out on the car. A safety fire truck went to his aid. John Masariu, 41, of Danville, Indiana, who was the Principal of Ben Davis Junior High and was serving as a safety worker, fell off the back of the fire truck. A moment later, the truck driven by James Williams accidentally backed over him, and he was injured fatally.|
|Dave MacDonald||Driver||May 30, 1964||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Race||Coming out of turn four on lap two, Dave MacDonald spun and crashed into the inside wall. The car exploded and went back onto the track, into the path of oncoming traffic. Eddie Sachs hit MacDonald's car, and his car caught fire as well. Sachs died instantly from blunt force injures from the impact, but his body was only slightly burned. MacDonald, badly burned, died two and a half hours later at the hospital, his lungs seared from flame inhalation, causing acute pulmonary edema.|
|Jerry Albright||Maintenance worker||July 21, 1964||Two 17-year-old maintenance workers for the Speedway Golf Course, Jerome U. Albright and James P. Cross, were killed after being struck by lightning. The two teenagers had sought shelter in an outdoor restroom facility when the lightning struck.|
|Chuck Rodee||Driver||May 14, 1966||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Qualifying||Chuck Rodee spun on his second warm-up lap and backed the car into the wall exiting turn one. The impact appeared minor but the rigid chassis transferred virtually the entire force of the crash to the driver. Rodee suffered a ruptured aorta and lapsed into a coma. He was pronounced dead after emergency surgery failed to save him.|
|Mike Spence||Driver||May 7, 1968||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Mike Spence joined the Lotus effort as a replacement for Jim Clark, who was fatally injured at Hockenheim a month earlier. Driving an STP Granatelli Lotus 56 "Wedge" turbine machine, Spence lost control in turn one at about 163 mph (262 km/h). He hit the outside wall, and slid along the wall for almost 400 feet (120 m). The right-front wheel became dislodged, and impacted him on the helmet. Spence died in the hospital, from massive head injuries, four and a half hours after the accident.|
|Jim Malloy||Driver||May 14, 1972||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||On the second day of time trials, Jim Malloy was participating in the morning practice session. At 10:21 a.m., he was going down the backstretch into turn three when the car suddenly veered across the track, and hit the outside wall near the exit of turn three with the right-front. The car slid to a stop in the grass near turn four. Malloy was unconscious, suffering from burns to his hands and feet, he broke both arms and both legs, and also had head injuries. He died of his injuries at Methodist Hospital four days later.|
|Art Pollard||Driver||May 12, 1973||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||On pole day, Art Pollard was participating in the morning practice session. At 9:47 a.m., after a lap of 192 mph (309 km/h), the car slammed the outside wall entering turn one. It did a half-spin towards the grass near the inside of the south short chute. The chassis dug into the grass and flipped upside-down, slid a short distance and then flipped back over as it reached the pavement again and came to rest upright in the south chute. Pollard was rushed to Methodist Hospital, and pronounced dead at 10:50 a.m. His injuries were reported to include pulmonary damage due to flame inhalation, burns on both hands, face and neck, and a fractured right arm.|
|Swede Savage||May 30, 1973||Race||On the 59th lap, Swede Savage lost control as he exited turn four. His car twitched back and forth, and then slid across to the inside of the track at nearly top speed. It hit the angled inside wall nearly head-on. The force of the impact, with the car carrying a full load of fuel, caused it to explode in a plume of flame. The engine and transaxle tumbled end-over-end to the pit lane entrance while Savage, still strapped in his seat, was thrown back across the circuit. Savage came to rest adjacent to the outer retaining wall, fully conscious and completely exposed while he lay in a pool of flaming methanol fuel. Savage was taken to a hospital with critical injuries, but was in stable condition. A little over a month later, he died in the hospital on July 2, 1973. Steve Olvey has posited that cause of death for Savage may have been from contaminated plasma from a blood transfusion (contraction of hepatitis B which caused liver failure). Angela Savage, Swede's daughter, has gone on record to say that the cause of death was lung failure.|
|Armando Teran||Team member||Armando Teran, 23, of Santa Monica, California, was a pit crew member for Graham McRae. Just moments after McRae's teammate Swede Savage had suffered a fatal crash in turn four, Teran started sprinting up the pit lane. At the same time, a fire truck was signaled to head to the scene. Cleon Reynolds, the chief of the Speedway Fire Department, signaled for fire-safety truck driver Jerry Flake to proceed northbound up the pit lane to the crash scene. Flake was stationed at the south end of the pits. Flake, driving northbound, struck Teran and tossed his body about 50 feet (15 m). Teran suffered crushed ribs and a broken skull, and was pronounced dead at 4:23 p.m. The incident was witnessed by thousands of spectators, as it occurred on the pit lane right at the start-finish line. It was erroneously reported by media that Flake was driving the wrong way, and was at fault; at the time, safety trucks were permitted to drive in the opposite direction of the racing cars. The following year, USAC prohibited safety trucks from driving in the opposite direction.|
|Tim Vail||Spectator||May 22, 1980||USAC||Indianapolis 500||On Carburetion Day, Timothy Scott Vail, 19, of Indianapolis, was in the "Snake Pit" area of the infield when his Jeep overturned. Vail died of a fractured skull. His passenger David A. Stegenmiller, 19, of Indianapolis, was thrown from the vehicle, and sustained slight injuries.|
|Gordon Smiley||Driver||May 15, 1982||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Qualifying||On his second warm-up lap, Gordon Smiley's car began to oversteer while rounding the third turn, causing the car to slightly slide. When Smiley steered right to correct this, the front wheels gained grip suddenly, sending his car directly across the track and into the wall nose first at nearly 200 mph (320 km/h). The impact shattered and completely disintegrated the March chassis, causing the fuel tank to explode, and sent debris — including Smiley's exposed body — tumbling hundreds of feet across the short-chute connecting turns three and four. Smiley died instantly from massive trauma.|
|Lyle Kurtenbach||Spectator||May 24, 1987||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Race||On lap 130, Tony Bettenhausen lost a wheel in the third turn. Moments later, Roberto Guerrero hit the tire with his nose cone, and the tire was launched into the air. It went over the catch fence, and into the top row of the "K" grandstand, striking Lyle Kurtenbach, 41, of Rothschild, Wisconsin. Kurtenbach died at Methodist Hospital at 1:46 p.m.|
|Stephen White||Trespasser||May 29, 1991||Three days after the 1991 race, Stephen C. White, 31, of Indianapolis, entered the grounds of the speedway early on Wednesday, May 29. At some point before 7:30 a.m., he started driving around the track in a GMC pickup truck. He completed three or four laps, approaching speeds of 100 mph (160 km/h). Luther Wray, a foreman in the speedway's maintenance department attempted to block his truck by parking a Dodge Caravan minivan on the track near the start-finish line. White was driving approximately 90 mph (140 km/h) when he struck the van, his truck became airborne and landed approximately 150 feet (46 m) away. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Methodist Hospital.|
|Jovy Marcelo||Driver||May 15, 1992||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Jovy Marcelo's car snapped around at warmup speed and impacted on the right side entering turn one at 172 mph (277 km/h). Marcelo was killed instantly of a basilar skull fracture.|
|Scott Brayton||Driver||May 17, 1996||USAC||Indianapolis 500||Practice||Scott Brayton had won the pole position for the 1996 Indy 500 on Saturday, May 11. At 12:17 p.m. on Friday, May 17, Brayton, testing a back-up car, did a half-spin in the middle of turn two, the car scrubbed off almost no speed as it spun and the left side of the car impacted the wall at over 200 mph (320 km/h), and the force was such that Brayton's head also impacted the wall. The car slid 600 feet (180 m) to a stop down the backstretch. The driver was found unconscious in the car, and was transported immediately to Methodist Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 12:50 p.m. EST. Brayton was killed instantly of a basilar skull fracture. It was determined that Brayton likely ran over a piece of debris in turn four or the main stretch, which punctured his right rear tire. Unaware of the debris, he completed the lap at 228.606 mph (367.906 km/h), then drove into turn one. The tire suffered rapid deflation in the southchute and in turn two, causing the car to lose control.|
|Tony Renna||Driver||October 22, 2003||Firestone tire test||Testing||Tony Renna had just recently signed with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2004 season. On the night of October 21, 2003, the crew was up late getting Renna fitted for his new car that was driven earlier that day by Scott Dixon. On the morning of October 22, Renna was scheduled to conduct a tire test at the Speedway. On that morning, it was about 50 °F (10 °C) air temperature, and the track surface cool. On Renna's fourth lap, he was driving approximately 218 mph (351 km/h) and spun out in turn three. While spinning, his car caught air underneath the chassis, which lifted into the air, and into the catch fence. Renna died instantly of massive internal trauma, and was pronounced DOA at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. The exact cause of the spin was unknown, and damage was observed to have been inflicted to the grandstand seating (which was vacant) in the immediate vicinity of the impact area.|
|Art Morris||Security worker||August 6, 2004||NASCAR||Brickyard 400||Art Morris, 64, of Anderson, Indiana, was a 20-year Safety Patrol employee. In the infield at approximately 7:30 a.m. during a practice day, he suffered a heart attack causing him to crash his motor scooter into a concrete wall. He was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital at 10:30 a.m.|
|Peter Lenz||Rider||August 29, 2010||USGPRU||Rev'It Moriwaki MD250H||Race||On the warm-up lap of race two of the USGPRU Moriwaki MD250H Powered by Honda championship event, Peter Lenz, 13, fell and was run over by another motorcycle. Paramedics immediately placed Lenz into a cervical collar, intubated him, and performed CPR. He later died of his injuries at Methodist Hospital.|
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