Grandstand Collapse at Indianapolis 500
The 1960 Indianapolis 500 may best be remembered for the legendary duel fought between Rodger Ward and Jim Rathmann. The two drivers would battle desperately for the lead, trading the number-one position 20 times before Ward's tires wore out and he surrendered his lead to ensure a second-place race completion. Rathmann would claim the trophy with a record average speed of 138.8 mph, and many fans considering the Indy 500 of 1960 to be one of the greatest. Many, but not all.
To gain an advantageous view, over 100 fans in the infield paid 5 to 10 dollars each to climb and stand atop a 30-foot (9 m) makeshift scaffold, built by race fan Wilbur Shortridge. As cars took position to begin the race, the spectators shifted forward, causing the grandstand to tilt and collapse, trapping spectators against a fence below. As engines roared and the race got underway, over fifty people lay injured on the field, two of them never to rise again.