Tire flies over Turn 2 catchfence in Indy 500 crash among three red flags in last 15 laps
INDIANAPOLIS – There were a record three red flags in the final 15 laps of the 107th Indy 500, including the initial stoppage after a terrifying crash that sent a tire over the Turn 2 catchfence.
The tire narrowly missed entering a section of an estimated crowd of more than 300,000, landing in a parking lot in the gap between the grandstands and suites. The tire struck a white car that soon was surrounded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway security staff.
NBC Sports announcer Leigh Diffey said there were no injuries reported in the incident, which started when Felix Rosenqvist lost control entering Turn 1, hit the outside wall and then skidded down the track in front of Kyle Kirkwood.
The left-rear tire of Kirkwood’s No. 27 Dallara-Honda sailed over the Turn 2 catchfence after the collision.
“I saw what had happened; saw it bounced on top of a building and went and hit a car over there, which obviously is very concerning,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also won the race. “We have tethers on the wheels, and it was a rear wheel that came off, and I’m sure the guys at IndyCar will look at it, will determine what really happened.
“We haven’t seen a wheel come off in a long time. We have high fences here. But we were very fortunate we didn’t have a bad accident.”
The Indy Star reported a fan was seen and released from the care center after sustaining minor injuries from flying debris in the crash.
Rich Nye of WTHR reported that Indianapolis fan Robin Matthews was the owner of the Chevy Cruze that was hit by the tire.
This is Robin Matthews of Indy. Her white Chevy Cruze she calls “snowball” was the car hit by the wheel that flew over the fence in a crash at #Indy500. The car had to be towed. @IMS President @jdouglas4 brought her to the yard of bricks & getting her a ride home. #TrackTeam13 pic.twitter.com/Ba4GN8w4bP— Rich Nye (@RichNye13) May 28, 2023
Kirkwood’s car also turned upside down and slid down the asphalt for several hundred feet.
The car was turned back over by the AMR Safety Crew, which then extricated Kirkwood. The Andretti Autosport driver enthusiastically waved and clapped to the crowd while sitting up on a stretcher that was wheeled to an ambulance.
Kirkwood later told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch that he was fine while standing for an interview outside the care center.
“Everything happened so quick,” Kirkwood said. “All I’ve heard is I was up in the fence, which is never a good thing in IndyCar. Thank God these cars are safe. It could have been a lot worse. I was seeing sparks flying everywhere. That was the scary part because you’re upside down and kind of stuck at that point.
“We felt like we were going to win it. I’m glad I’m OK. I’m glad the car was super fast. But I’m disappointed in that finish, no doubt.”
After a 13-minute flag, the race was restarted on Lap 187 of 200.
“I got passed and got on the wrong side of the wake,” said Rosenqvist, who had started on the front row. “I almost got it but the rear came out right before the exit of the corner, hit the wall, and I tried to stay up there. Eventually, something broke in the rear. I came back on track and unfortunately Kyle hit me. It was really unfortunate for him as well.”
The race was restarted on Lap 194, but a crash for Pato O’Ward brought out another red flag with six laps remaining.
After restarting again on Lap 196, the race was placed under red for a third time at 4 p.m. for a multicar wreck on the frontstretch.