A fan whose car was smashed by a tire that went flying during the Indianapolis 500 is getting a new ride, courtesy of the track owner who happens to be one of the country's biggest auto dealers.
Penske Entertainment is replacing Robin Matthews' 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway told The Indianapolis Star. Matthews also was given several unique experiences to make up for the inconvenience: kissing the "Yard of Bricks" at the finish line and posing for photos with the pace car, a Chevy Corvette Z06 convertible. She got a ride home in an official Indy 500 vehicle while her white Cruze, nicknamed "Snowball," was towed.
Matthews' car was struck by the left rear tire of Kirk Kirkwood's car, which spun out and flipped 17 laps from the finish. Although the tire missed the grandstands, one fan was treated for minor injuries caused by other debris.
"Hugely relieved everyone appears to be OK," tweeted author John Green, who was sitting near where the crash happened. "Watching a wheel fly over my friends at 150 miles per hour is not an experience I'm anxious to repeat."
Roger Penske, who bought the speedway and IndyCar series in 2020, said he and his team were investigating why Kirkwood's tire detached. IndyCar uses tethers designed to keep wheels from flying off in a crash. The morning after the race — won by one of Penske's drivers, Josef Newgarden — he talked to officials from chassis manufacturer Dallara about the crash.
"I talked to the Dallara guys, and we're going to look at it," Penske told reporters. "We have tethers on those [wheels], and I've never seen a wheel come off of those. That, to me, is probably the scariest thing, and we've got to fix that so it doesn't happen again. Our technical guys are going to have a look at it."