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.