INDIANAPOLIS — IndyCar officials are reviewing the crash in the Indy 500 where a wheel was knocked off a race car and launched over the fence, just missing the stands outside Turn 2.
Fortunately, the wheel only hit a car parked in small lot with golf carts between the Turn 2 suites and IMS' Southeast Vista, hitting a white Chevrolet Cruze.
"My car's name is 'Snowball,' she took one for the team,” Robin Matthews said after the race Sunday evening.
Matthews could laugh about her damaged car after the Indy 500, knowing no one was hurt when the left rear wheel of Kyle Kirkwood's car made contact with the already spinning car of Felix Rosenqvist in Turn 2, sending the wheel flying and leaving Kirkwood upside down sliding against the outside wall.
"We saw the tire go over because I was in Turn 2, and they said a tire went over,” Matthews said. “Somebody said that it hit one of the golf carts. Well, I was parked by a golf cart. I looked, and I saw the back of my car, and I'm like, 'OK,' I didn't think anything. Then, somebody from another suite was like, ‘Robin, it was your car.'"
Matthews was working in a Turn 2 suite.
"Immediately, my stomach dropped, and I was shaking, just anxious and nervous, just scared, thankful that nobody got hurt,” Matthews said.
IndyCar provided the following statement Monday afternoon on the crash:
"INDYCAR takes the safety of the drivers and fans very seriously. We are pleased and thankful that no one was hurt."
As a series known for innovation, for the last 24 years, IndyCar has mandated a wheel-suspension tether, which uses high-performance Zylon material. It can withstand a force of over 22,000 pounds. IndyCar was the first sanctioning body in the United States to require its use.
IndyCar is in possession of the tire involved in Sunday's incident and has found that the tether did not fail. This is an isolated incident, and the series is reviewing to make sure it does not happen again.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles brought Matthews to the yard of bricks after the race. She kissed the bricks and took some photos.
“Snowball” was hauled away, leaking fluids and with significant damage to the left front. Boles provided a car for Matthews to drive home.
Matthews said Monday she is overwhelmed by the all the attention she's receiving. Many people are weighing in on social media about how she should be compensated, but she said, "I'm not that kind of person." She says she just needs a car that can get her to work.
Matthews said her love for the Indy 500 has only grown from this experience.
“I'll be back next year,” she said.
She will, but Snowball probably will not.