Video: Danny Ongais Crashes in the 1981 Indy 500
“This is the sort of accident Jim, quite frankly, that every racing driver fears when he comes to the old Brickyard, as they call it, because there is no forgiveness in that wall.”
After an agonisingly slow pit stop on the 63rd lap of the 1981 Indy 500, Donnay Ongais pulled back out onto the track and put the boot in. Catching a slower car into turn three, he dove under to make the pass, lost the back-end, corrected and plowed head-first into the wall at, by Jackie Stewart’s estimate, over 200 miles per hour.
His car burst into flame, utterly destroyed; leaving him dangling completely exposed in what must be one of the most affecting, shocking and disturbing sights in all motorsport – a stricken and exposed driver or rider.
Thankfully he got away with “just” a concussion and broken feet and legs. He made a full recovery and was back at the Brickyard for the ’82 Indy 500. Brave.
Images via Indianapolis Motor Speedway