IndyCar: Severe looking start line crash just after launch takes out several cars

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The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis launched from a standing start, but featured a scary looking accident involving four cars.

Sebastian Saavedra stalled from pole position and while most of the field was able to avoid him, fellow Colombian countryman Carlos Munoz speared Saavedra’s left rear bodywork. The debris field also caught out Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin, who then crashed into the pair of stalled, wrecked Colombians.

Saavedra, who mercifully emerged from his car after the accident, told ABC’s Dr. Jerry Punch¬†shortly thereafter that his car lost drive when he released the clutch.

“We just followed protocol on the start,” he said. “I don’t know if it was heat soak or what. As soon as I released the clutch, it went from 11,000 rpm to zero. I’m very sad because we did an amazing job. Everyone on the team had very high expectations. I’m really disappointed and we need to see what happened. This should not have happened.

“I don’t know if it was the temperature, more grip in the tires. We just followed protocal and it didn’t got the way we expected it. We just have to be talking to you so early. We really had a car to put it up front.”

“We had the opportunity to be in the front of the pack in this amazing place. We wanted to bring it home in the same place. To not even get a chance because of a frickin’ electrical thing or something…Pisses me off.”

Saavedra wasn’t the only Colombian stalled as well; Juan Pablo Montoya stalled on the outside of the circuit but the field was able to avoid him.

Mike Conway also suffered damage in the incident from debris, and went to Gasoline Alley for repairs. Per team owner Ed Carpenter to ABC, Conway suffered right rear corner and upright damage.

“We’ve had two good ones since INDYCAR launched these… I haven’t been a fan, still not a fan,” Carpenter said of standing starts.

After the fracas, Ryan Hunter-Reay took the lead from Jack Hawksworth, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Scott Dixon.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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