INDIANAPOLIS - 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. He later tweeted that he'd watch the rest of the race from home.
— Mayor Greg Ballard (@MayorBallard) May 10, 2014
Saavedra was seen in his cockpit with his arms in the air anticipating a potential collision as cars tried to weave their way around his stalled KV Racing car. He was visibly upset after the accident as he talked to his team on his pit stand. He had won the first pole of his career -- in part because Hunter-Reay had his two fastest laps disallowed for causing a caution in Friday's qualifying -- and was looking for a strong finish at the famed race track.
"Man, we had an opportunity to be at the front of the pack in this amazing place. We wanted to bring it home in the same place," he said. "To not even get a chance because of a freaking electrical thing ... . "
Munoz said he could not avoid clipping his fellow Colombian.
"I was already in fifth gear," Munoz said. "I was really close to the car in front of me, I just saw him go to the right. I just had to go to the left, but I was not fast enough."
WATCH: Vintage cars roll into IMS
The Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational features cars form the last 50+ years of racing
James Hinchcliffe opens up about May crash
Just more than three weeks since a life-threatening crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe is opening up…
WATCH: This is what 200 mph feels like
Take a ride in Honda's virtual racing simulator in Brownsburg.
Fine-tuning underway for vintage event at IMS
Fine tuning is underway for next weekend's Brickyard Racing Invitational at the IMS.
Indy 500 champ, rookie of year fined after race
Indy 500 rookie of the year Gabby Chaves has been fined $10,000 and put on probation for six races after hitting a crew member with his car…
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe out of hospital
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe was released from IU Health Methodist Hospital Tuesday after a serious injury in a crash on…