Dixon recalls horror Indy 500 crash: “There was nowhere else to go”

Scott Dixon led the first five laps on Sunday but crashed out in a horror incident with Jay Howard on lap 52 - Credit: Forrest Mellott / IndyCar

Scott Dixon admitted to being a little banged up after his wild ride early on during the Indianapolis 500 after a heavy collision with Jay Howard launched him into the air and down onto the top of the inside SAFER barrier.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver had started from pole position and lead the opening five laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but fell down the order after being too light on downforce for what he needed at that point of the race.

However, when Howard crashed into the wall ahead of him and bounced into his path, there was nothing the New Zealander could do, and he was lucky to escape after seeing his car disintegrate around him.

“I just got a little beaten up there,” said Dixon. “It was a bit of a rough ride. I’m bummed for the team and for Camping World.

“We got a little loose on the first stint there, but they dialed it in, and we started to make some progress. Overall, I think we were a little bit light on downforce but for later on in the race that would have been the right move to have.

“I’m just bummed for them and glad everyone is OK. It was definitely a wild ride. Thank you for Dallara and the safety of these cars. It’s tough. I was hoping Jay (Howard) would stay against the wall. I’d already picked a way to go and there was nowhere else to go.

“I’m glad he’s OK too. It makes you believe in the safety of these cars and the progress they’ve made.”

Jay Howard was already five laps down when he crashed out of the Indy 500 with Scott Dixon – Credit: Bret Kelley / IndyCar

Howard felt that Ryan Hunter-Reay was too aggressive when attempting to lap the Briton, which pushed him onto the marbles and into the wall, which caused the chain reaction with Dixon. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsport driver broke his suspension in the initial contact with the wall, but was also lucky to survive uninjured after being used as a launch pad by Dixon.

“First and foremost, I’m glad Scott is OK,” said Howard. “Credit to INDYCAR, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Holmatro Safety Team, Dallara. I’m fine, thanks to them. It goes to show how safe these cars are.

“I’m not happy. Unfortunately, we ran out of fuel on our first stint when we were doing really well, which was unfortunate. I was a few laps down and see Hunter-Reay coming. I just backed off, let him go by.

“He moves right over on me and puts me on all the grey and all the marbles and that was it. It’s over.”