Dixon, Howard unhurt after vicious Indy 500 shunt

David Yowe/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Polesitter Scott Dixon and Jay Howard were both unhurt after a vicious crash on Lap 53 of the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Howard, 36, was maneuvering through Turn 1 of the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway when his No. 77 drifted up the track and out of the racing groove. Unable to control his machine, Howard drifted up into the outside wall before sliding down in front of his fellow competitors.

Numerous drivers were able to dodge the incident, but 2008 Indy 500 winner Dixon was left without anywhere to go. The New Zealander’s No. 9 Honda made contact with Howard’s machine, effectively using the car as a ramp and sending Dixon airborne and into the inside wall of the short chute.

Both drivers climbed out of their machines after the incident. One photographer was transported to the infield care center for observation after the catch fence was damaged in his vicinity.

“I’m (just) bummed for the team, man,” a surprisingly calm Dixon told ABC. “Bummed for Camping World. I think we had a really great shot. We got a little loose on the first stint there but they were dialing it in. We were starting to make some progress. Overall I think we were just a little light on downforce, but I think later on in the race it would’ve been the right move to have.

“I’m just bummed for them. I’m glad everybody was okay. It was definitely a wild ride. Thanks to Dallara and everybody for the safety standards we have right now.”

Howard expressed grief for the incident, while also noting that he wasn’t the only culprit in its cause.

“Thanks to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Holmatro Safety Team, Dallara and everyone that’s involved inboxed building this car,” Howard told ABC after the crash. “I’m fine thanks to them. I’m really glad Scott’s okay. as he was a victim in this.

“I’m not sure about that. we ended up a couple laps down running out of fuel in the first stint. We were out there just trying to pick up some laps and see if we could get some yellows, maybe try to salvage something from the race. (Ryan) Hunter-Reay comes, gets a run on me. I lift, let him go and try to be the nice guy, and he moves right over on me and pushes me out in all the gray and marbles.”

Helio Castroneves also suffered minor rear-end damaged after swinging low to dodge the crash.

The race was red flagged for multiple minutes, with track officials forced to repair damage to the inside wall and fencing.

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