INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Scott Dixon's Indy 500 ended in a spectacular crash on Sunday, capping a week of euphoric highs and frightening lows that also included an armed robbery.
In the span of a week, the popular New Zealander celebrated securing the Indy 500 pole last Sunday and a few hours later was robbed at gun point while ordering food at the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant.
As scary as that moment was, Dixon topped it with one of the most violent crashes ever seen at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After a clean start to the 33-car, 200-lap race, drivers and spectators were reminded just how dangerous oval racing can be when Jay Howard drifted into the wall on lap 53, sliding down across the track into the path of Dixon and launching the pole sitter into the air.
The New Zealander's car barrel-rolled onto the inside wall, disintegrating as it pierced the safety fencing before being flung back out onto the track.
Despite the violent crash, that brought out the red flag and halted the race for nearly 30 minutes, both drivers climbed out of their wrecked cars unhurt.
"Just a little beaten up," said Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner in a trackside interview. "I'm just glad everyone was ok, it was a wild ride for sure.
"When you make those decision which way to go, you're hoping that Jay was going to stay against the wall but we saw the impact sent him down and I had already picked that way to go and there was no way to avoid him.
"It's just a wild ride, you hold on and believe in the safety progress we have made over the last few years."
Editing by Pritha Sarkar