During the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, a wheel separated from one race car and was struck by another, sending it high into the grandstands. Had the wheel gone a foot or two higher it would have cleared the grandstands completely. Instead, it struck and killed the husband of our client.
The Speedway contended it was a freak accident, but our investigation found numerous other incidents of wheels and other debris enter the spectator viewing areas. Most of these incidents are documented in the Speedway’s records and film library, including a 1966 film of a wheel flying over the grandstand fence. A slightly different angle of this scene was used in the Paul Newman race movie Winning, followed by a scene of the wheel striking a spectator, just as it did in real life. The case was successfully settled at the final pre-trial conference. Over 30 depositions, including those of the race car manufacturer in London, England, were taken in the case.