The IndyCar series was hoping to start a new tradition and build on their already strong legacy of racing in Indiana during the month of May but they did not bargain for the literal start that the first ever Indianapolis Grand Prix on Saturday. In the end, the series got far more notice for what happened last weekend than they would have if everything went smoothly and it at least kick starts the Indy discussion over the month of May which builds until Memorial Day Weekend and the running of the Indy 500. So what the hell happened? Basically a worst case scenario for a standing start race happened because the pole sitter lost fire and caused a chain of events even seasoned racers and commentators were pretty horrified to watch happen.
Pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra was both the cause and the major victim in this situation as he was doing like every other guy in the field was by standing on the gas at a stunning 11,000 rpm and getting ready to drop the clutch when the green light came on. He did just that and as soon as he let the clutch out (via a hand control) the car fell on its face and completely died. Sitting dead in the water as the rest of the field accelerated by him at full throttle, it was immediately evident that something bad was about to happen. Saavedra was first clipped by Carlos Munoz but he got the worst of it when Mikhail Aleshin plowed into him at full throttle, square in the tail. Parts, pieces, and “stuff” flew in such a violent fashion that the mayor of Indianapolis, who was on hand suffered minor injuries from the airborne knives flying around.
Amazingly, all three drivers were OK and everyone walked away. This is a testament to the safety standards and construction quality of the cars but on the flip side, it shows that even some of the most well prepared race cars in the world suffer unforeseen mechanical failures at the worst possible time. When your junk quits running at the drag strip take solace in knowing that gazillion dollar race cars also have their issues at the worst possible time. This is crazy stuff.
PRESS PLAY BELOW TO WATCH THE DISASTROUS START TO THE 2014 INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX –