- A tire was ripped off of Kyle Kirkwood’s car after a crash during Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
- The tire flew by the spectator stands and hit a parked sedan.
- At least two spectators have been killed by a flying tire in the history of Indy 500.
Indy 500 spectators on Sunday had a brief scare after a crash caused a tire to fly off a driver’s vehicle and barely miss the spectator stands before landing on someone’s parked white car.
During the last 14 laps, driver Felix Rosenqvist hit a wall, causing him to spin out of control and onto the track.
Immediately, Kyle Kirkwood came up from behind and clipped Rosenqvist. The contact ripped the rear left tire from Kirkwood’s Andretti Autosport Honda which flew into the air and narrowly missed the spectator stands.
The rest of Kirkwood’s car spiraled out of control and flipped upside down. Kirkwood was unscathed from the accident, according to an NBC Sports broadcast of the incident.
A video posted on Twitter appeared to show the tire had landed on someone’s white Chevrolet sedan.
—Andrew Kossack (@AndrewKossack) May 28, 2023
Indy 500 drivers put themselves at considerable risk as they reach speeds over 200 mph. But audience members can also face some danger, albeit on very rare occasions.
At least two spectators in Indy 500’s history have been killed by an errant wheel, according to Indy Motor Speedway.
In May 1938, spectator Everett G. Spence was killed while watching the race on top of a truck in the track’s infield, according to The Indianapolis News. The newspaper reported that the wheel and rim detached from driver Emil Andres’s car and hit Spence in the head while he was sitting next to his wife.
In 1987, another spectator, Lyle Kurtenbach, died of head injuries after a wheel from Tony Bettenhausen’s car hit another vehicle and was then sent flying into the air, hitting Kurtenbach, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Following the fatal incident, the fence was raised from 15 feet to 19 feet, 8 inches, according to The Indianapolis Star.
A spokesperson for the event did not respond to a request for comment sent over the weekend.