Fox, Who Survived Indy 500 Crash, Dies in Car Wreck
Stan Fox, whose racing career ended five years ago in a horrific crash at the Indianapolis 500, was killed in an auto accident in New Zealand.
Fox, 48, died Monday night in a head-on collision on a stretch of highway about 200 miles south of Auckland known as “The Desert Road,” said Dick Jordan, a spokesman for the U.S. Auto Club.
Fox’s racing career ended May 28, 1995, with a six-car crash on the first lap of the Indy 500. His car was sheared virtually in half, and he was sent hurtling into the Turn 1 wall. Photos from the race showed the remains of Fox’s car flying through the air, his legs dangling from the wreckage.
Fox was visiting friends for the holidays in New Zealand and was driving a borrowed car to visit other friends when he was involved in the two-vehicle crash, said Jeff Fox, his nephew and president and chief executive officer of Lemans Corp. in Janesville, Wis., Stan Fox’s hometown.
One other person was injured in the accident, said Jason Smith, acting shift manager for the northern branch of the New Zealand Police.
Fox was also in New Zealand working for head-injury support units. Last New Year’s Day, he turned a ceremonial first lap at an event billed as “The First Race of the Millennium.”
“He was a racing hero to a lot of people because he came out of Janesville and he kind of gave Janesville a name for awhile,” said Kevin Apfel, 27, who grew up in the Wisconsin city near the Illinois border between Chicago and Madison, Wis.
Fox suffered a severe head injury in the Indy 500 crash and was in a coma for five days, finally regaining consciousness June 2. By July, he was out of the hospital and at an Indianapolis rehab center.
Ten weeks after the crash, he walked out of the center and went home for outpatient therapy. But his career was over and he had to make adjustments as he slowly began to heal.
“I started from scratch,” he told the Associated Press last year. “I started like a 4-year-old. I had to learn everything.”
Fox started racing in 1972 and made eight starts in nine years at the Indy 500.
Survivors include his ex-wife, Jean; a daughter and a son; and a brother, Fred.
The L.A. Street Race didn’t make the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series schedule for 2001, ending four years of stock car racing in downtown Los Angeles.
Ford, the main sponsor of the event held on a temporary one-mile road course around the Coliseum, pulled its financial backing. No other supporter has replaced Ford as the main sponsor, leaving the event without the necessary funds to continue.
But series organizers are leaving an open date in July on their schedule in the hopes that funding will surface.
“We can always add a race,” Southwest Series director Danny Grill said.