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

May 10, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT

IndyGP-Start-shot AP

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.

  1. cubb1 - May 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    I love how every driver tries to blame a stall on the car. He dropped the clutch too soon and stalled it, he should at least have the balls to admit it. Anyone that has ever had a manual transmission has done it at least once.

    • testover6370 - May 10, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      He was the only driver to stall at Long Beach too. When it happens twice in a row, the nut behind the wheel is the problem.

  2. kitnamania13 - May 10, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    I’m confused as to why Saavedra was scored in last place. I thought they went back to the previous lap, or in the case of a first-lap crash, to qualifying position. Normally, it’s not a big deal, but when a series pays points all the way to last place, it can matter.

    • Tony DiZinno - May 10, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      Qualifying position was Saavedra 1, Munoz 19 and Aleshin 25 and in unofficial results, Saavedra is 23, Munoz 24 and Aleshin 25. So that would follow the grid order.

      • kitnamania13 - May 10, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        So ABC was showing the wrong order all race. Why am I not surprised?

  3. chad4208 - May 10, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Agree with second comment however the standing start launch systems on these cars are not as bullet proof as F1 being they have only been used a few times. They are prone to fail, but whether this was the case here or not…..ehhh. *shrugs*

  4. Jeff - May 10, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    I agree with Carpenter.

  5. techmeister1 - May 10, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Standing starts are dangerous and unnecessary in this day and age, IMO.

    • worknman24hours - May 10, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      Agreed, running starts at a low speed are infinitely safer and just as exciting.

  6. bigdcart - May 11, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    Did I hear that the Mayor of Indianapolis was injured by debris during this crash?

  7. testover6370 - May 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Plenty of series do standing starts safely, but Indycar just can’t seem to pull it off. They need to find a way to make it work because some courses like Long Beach have the.back half of the field still crawling around a hairpin when the green drops on a rolling start. Most Indycar races should be rolling starts, but that leaves the drivers out of practice on the few occasions that they having standing starts.

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