997. Phil Krueger smacks wall hard in 1981 Indy 500 qualifying; misses race

Photos for Headline Surfer / Phil Krurger had several major crashes in his rcing career, among the first was during qualifying for the 1981 Indy 500 where he smacked the outside concrete wall and failed to qualify for the race.

Worst of the Worst: Motorsports CrashesMultimedia compilation of the Top 1,000 "WORST of the Worst: Motorsports Crashes" captured on video or still images, with an emphasis on the need for constant vigilance in keeping drivers, crew members, emergency workers, and especially spectators, safe at racing events around the globe.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Phil Krueger has had several bad wrecks and as horrible as this one looked, he escaped without major injury when he lost control of his car and struck the outside retaining wall with the rear-end, which cost him a chance to race in the 1981 Indy 500.

As a result of the May 12 crash Krueger had to sit out the race.

The crash looked worse than it actually was, at least in the harm that could have befallen Krueger as occured in crashes at Michigan in 1984, and again at the same venue in 1989, both of which left him unconscious and fighting for his life. Both crashes are chronicled later in this countdown. Krueger did not lose consciousness in this crash. As bad as this crash was, a lot of the energy was dispersed with the car falling apart as it travelled along the track before ending up in the grass. Thankfully, Krueger did not strike the retaining wall there.

Phil Krueger crashed in trying to qualify for the 1981 Indy 500 / Headline SurferThe crash looked worse than it actually was, at least in the harm that could have befallen Krueger as occured in crashes at Michigan in 1984, and again at the same venue in 1989, both of which left him unconscious and fighting for his life. Both crashes are chronicled later in this countdown.

Krueger did not lose consciousness in this crash. As bad as this crash was, a lot of the energy was dispersed with the car falling apart as it travelled along the track before ending up in the grass. Thankfully, Krueger did not strike the retaining wall there due to several spins.

Editor's Note: Phil Krueger's 1984 crash at Michigan was orinally was slotted here at 997, but that has been moved further up in the countdown because iodf the severity of injuries and replaced with the crash at Indy.

FAST FACTS:  
Phil Krurger had two starts in the Indianopolis 500. He started 24th in 1986 and finished 31, when engine troubles forced himn out in lap 67. In 1988, he starteded 15th and finished eighth, completing 196 of the 200 laps. His total earnings from the two races was  earnings for the two races was $213,466.

 

Premise for the series:
Motorsports fans are drawn to racing for different reasons: The excitement of speed, skill of drafting & passing; strategies on when to pit for fuel, tires or repairs; the will to win and so forth. Ultimately, though, it's the big crashes that fans seem to like more than anything. And though nobody wishes serious injury or death to drivers, crew members, emergency personnel & especially spectators, the sad reality is carnage is always lurking. Despite the latest technology & improvements in aerodynamics of vehicles, driver equipment and enhanced track safety features, the fine line between life & death is always at play in any given sanctioned motorsport. Given that Headline Surfer® puts such an emphasis on racing with Daytona Beach International Speedway, the 24/7 internet news outlet is counting down its listing of the top 1,000 WORST of the Worst. While on the surface it may come across as gratuitous gore to critics, there can never be enough discussion about the need for constant vigilance in looking at safety.

Recap: WORST of the Worst Motorsports crashes:

997. Phil Krueger smacks wall hard in 1981 Indy 500
2017-01-05 00:30:38 -0500
 
998. Disgruntled ex-Mercedes employee in rain coat interrupts 2000 F1 Grand Prix in Germany
2017-01-04 10:35:00 -0500
 
999. BMW flips after intense contact with another car in Nürburgring VLN endurance road race; driver unscathed
2017-01-02 02:33:36 -0500
 
1,000. Rusty Wallace flips violently in 1983 Twin 125 qualifier at Daytona International Speedway
2017-01-01 16:05:48 -0500
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet in Daytona Beach, Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards.

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