INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis got off to an inauspicious start Saturday when pole-sitter Sebastian Saavedra stalled, triggering a violent wreck.
IndyCar used a standing start for the series' first race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But Saavedra's car simply didn't go when the lights went out and, after Ryan Hunter-Reay frantically darted around him, Saavedra was clipped by Carlos Munoz and then hit hard from behind by Mikhail Aleshin.
"We just followed protocol at the start," Saavedra said. "As soon as I released the clutch, it went from 11,000 rpm to zero. This should not have happened, unfortunately."
The initial hit from Munoz didn't seem too bad, but Aleshin's direct hit sprayed debris all over the track, sending spectators and track workers standing along the wall scrambling for cover. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, the honorary race starter, was waving the green flag when he was struck near his left elbow and on the left side of his chest by debris, spokesman Marc Lotter said.
Ballard was treated at the scene but did not require stitches and after treatment he left the track to watch the rest of the race from home, Lotter said.