July 26, 1998 – Disaster strikes at Michigan International Speedway

On lap 175 of 250 of the CART series U.S. 500 on this day in 1998 Adrian Fernandez hit the wall at Michigan International Speedway, causing a tire and suspension parts to break loose and fly into the crowd. The wreck resulted in the deaths of three fans. An additional six people suffered injuries.

Adrian Fernandez 1998 wreck at Michigan International Speedway
Top: Moment of impact. Image courtesy ESPN

Fernandez’s hit the wall going upwards of 200 mph. The race was placed under caution but was not stopped, much to the dismay of reporters covering the event. In an effort to prevent further tragedies the fencing was extended to 17 feet high around any grandstand areas.

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