A terrifying crash sent hearts into mouths of everybody watching the 107th annual Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
Not only was the crash terrifying for drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Kyle Kirkwood, the latter of whom slid upside down for hundreds of yards, but it was also a horrifying sight for fans.
Kyle Kirkwood's onboard camera from today's incident 😱
Thankful for the safety team and safety equipment ❤️ pic.twitter.com/khcoXkxlFF
— Andretti Autosport (@FollowAndretti) May 28, 2023
That’s because Kirkwood’s left-rear tire got severed in the incident, sending it flying into the sky and over the the fence that protects the stands.
Thankfully, the tire cleared the entire grandstand and did not hit any fans. But one fan wasn’t so lucky.
— Andrew Kossack (@AndrewKossack) May 28, 2023
The tire did eventually come down. And when it did, it landed directly on the car of race fan Robin Matthews.
While a car is far preferable to a person, it still presented a headache for Matthews.
“I didn’t see it come down,” Matthews told Zach Osterman and Rob Peeters of the Indianapolis Star. “I came down and they said, ‘Robin, it’s your car!’ I thought, ‘No.’ I thought somebody was pranking me.
“It’s a car. It’s fine.”
But track president Doug Boles still wanted to make it up to Matthews. So he went above and beyond to do so.
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
Boles reportedly found Matthews and invited her onto the track following the race. He had her take pictures on the track and kiss the famous yard of bricks.
Back story: I was on golf cart headed to infield hospital. IMS President Doug Boles came flying around us on golf cart with state troopers rushing out to area where wheel flew over fence. He was yelling for everyone to get out of the way with obvious concern to assess situation.
— Rich Nye (@RichNye13) May 29, 2023
Boles also had Matthews’ car, a Chevy Cruze which she refers to as “Snowball”, towed away and provided her with transportation home from the track.
Matthews spoke with Rich Nye of WTHR Indianapolis after the incident. When Nye followed up with her, she said she was overwhelmed by the attention. Matthews also says she won’t seek anything else from the track.
— Rich Nye (@RichNye13) May 30, 2023
It’s a remarkable end to what could’ve been a tragic story. And it goes to show why Indy draws over 300,000 fans every year.