Before we dive in, we sincerely offer our condolences to the families of all the affected victims.
Here, we will look at the ten most recent fatalities and the taken lives of people at the Indy 500.
Recent Indy 500 deaths
1. Peter Lenz, Rider, 2010
On August 29, 2010, Peter was run over by another motorcycle during the warm-up from race two of the USGPRU event. The paramedics responded quickly and placed him into a cervical collar, where he was intubated. They performed CPR on him, but he would later pass on due to the injuries sustained at the Methodist Hospital.
2. Art Morris, Safety Crew Member, 2004
Coincidentally, the previous accident to take a life at the Indy 500 happened in August, but different date and year. On August 6, 2004, Morris met his unfortunate death during a practice day when he suffered a heart attack. Which made him crash his motor scooter on the concrete walls, and after a few hours, he was pronounced dead at the Methodist Hospital.
3. Tony Renna, Driver, 2003
This was one of the fatal deaths at the Indy 500 that occurred on October 22, 2003, when Renna was supposed to conduct a tire test after signing a new deal with Chip Ganassi Racing (2004 season). On the fourth lap, he was driving at 215 mph when his car caught air underneath and was lifted into the air. Renna died instantly, and up-to-date, the exact cause of the spin is still unknown.
4. Scott Brayton, Driver, 1996
Scott Brayton had just won the pole position on May 11, and after six days, On May 17, 1994, he met his death while testing a back-up car. He was driving at a speed of over 200 mph when the car spun and hit the wall. Paramedics found him unconscious, and he was rushed to the Methodist hospital, where he was later pronounced dead as a result of a basilar skull fracture.
5. Jovy Marcello, Driver, 1992
This was another case of basilar skull fracture taking a life consecutively at the Indy 500 on May 15, 1992. It was after the car Jovy was practicing with impacted the entering of turn one at 172 mph, killing him instantly.
6. Stephen White, Trespasser, 1991
One of the bizarre deaths at the Indy 500 that occurred on May 29, 1991. After the 1991 race, Stephen decided to spin with his GMC pick-up at the most prestigious motor speedway, and I bet he didn’t know that was the end of his life. Just after a few laps, a foreman by the name of Luther Wray tried to block him by parking a Dodge Caravan. And Stephen, who was driving at 100 mph, didn’t stop and struck the van making his truck go airborne and landed heavily. He was pronounced dead before even reaching the hospital.
7. Lyle Kurtenbach, Spectator, 1987
Lyle was the first spectator death to be recorded at the Indy 500 on May 24, 1997, after a tire was launched in the air by a speeding car and stroke Lyle while on the K grandstand. He died on the same day.
8. Gordon Smiley, Driver, 1982
Smiley died from massive trauma after he lost control of the car due to oversteering during the qualifying round on May 15, 1982.
9. Tim Vail, spectator, 1980
On May 22, 1980, Tim met his death when his jeep overturned while driving in the snake pit. He died as a result of a fractured skull.
10. Swede Savage (Driver) & Armando Teran (Team Member), 1997
The first incident to take two lives at the Indy 500 on May 30, 1973. Swede lost control of the car; as a result, it hit the inside of the track wall busting into flames. He would later be taken to the hospital in critical injuries and died after a month. Meanwhile, during the accident that later on took the life of Swede, there was a fire truck that stroked Teran as he was heading towards the pit lane. He was pronounced dead on the same day due to ribs and a broken skull.
According to Wikipedia, there are about 73 reports of Indy 500 deaths at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race has taken the lives of 42 drivers, 13 riding mechanics, and one motorcyclist. The remaining 17 lives consist of other personnel that includes spectators, track staff, and pit crew members.