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GP of Indianapolis begins with big crash

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Updated: 5/10/2014 4:47 pm

Indianapolis, IN ( - The start of Saturday's inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis was marred by a horrifying accident involving pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra as well as rookies Carlos Munoz and Mikhail Aleshin.

Saavedra stalled from his grid position when the lights went out for the standing start in this 82-lap race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course.

Most of the 25-car field avoided hitting Saavedra, but Munoz, who started 19th, plowed into the left rear of Saavedra's car before Mikhail Aleshin slammed right into the back of the pole sitter. Aleshin started last in this race.

"We just followed protocol on the start," Saavedra said. "As soon as I released the clutch, it from 11,000 rpm to zero. I'm very sad, because we did an amazing job. Everybody on the [No. 17 KV AFS Racing] team had very high expectations. I'm really disappointed. This shouldn't have happened."

Aleshin's car went on top of Saavedra's vehicle, as it spun around before coming to a rest on the front straightaway. Debris from all three cars littered the track, and some of it flew into the pit area. There were no injuries, as Saavedra, Munoz and Aleshin climbed out of their cars under their own power.

"It happened really fast," Munoz said. "I was already in fifth gear. I was really close to the car in front of me, and I just saw him go to the right. Suddenly, I had to go to the left, but it was not fast enough. I was lucky to go a little bit to the left side of [Saavedra's car] and not crash him in the back. It's a shame."

Mike Conway, who won in Long Beach, Calif. last month, sustained damage to his car from the debris and went to the garage area briefly for repairs.

Race officials had to bring the field down pit road while track personnel cleaned up the debris during the caution. The race went green after eight laps were completed around this 2.439-mile, 14-turn course.

Saavedra won Friday's qualifying to claim his first career pole position in the IndyCar Series. It came in his 42nd start.

"When you have the opportunity to be in the front of the pack in this amazing place, you want to bring it home in the same place," he said. "To not even get a chance because of a frickin' electrical thing or something, it [ticks] me off."

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