Driving Forces: Danger and Safety at the Indy 500


In nearly a third of the Indy 500’s 99 finishes, the post-race atmosphere was as mournful as it was celebratory: The race and related on-track activities have claimed the lives of at least 54 drivers, mechanics, IMS workers, and spectators since 1911.* And yet the legacy is a complicated one. While mechanical tinkering has pushed speed ever upward, Indy 500 innovation in safety procedures and technology—from hosting the first-ever motorsports event that required driver helmets in 1935, to introducing the cocoon-like Dallara cockpit in use today—have tempered the tragedy.

Scroll through a timeline of safety additions to IMS.


This article is part of IM’s special May 2016 coverage of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Adam Wren writes about business, politics, and crime for Indianapolis Monthly—often in the same story.

Follow him on Twitter @adamwren or visit his website at adamwren.me.