This weekend was the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and it was a pretty amazing race. The race was begun under a standing start, but pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra stalled immediately. Carlos Munoz was unable to avoid Saavedra and hit him from behind. Munoz then hit the outside wall on the front stretch and came to a stop. Mikhail Aleshin was also unable to avoid hitting Saavedra and ran into him, which demolished both cars. Mike Conway also experienced damage to his car after hitting the inside pit wall on the first lap and had to go back to the garages to make repairs for multiple laps.
Then, Franck Montagny was given a drive through penalty for jumping the restart on lap 9. As he was serving it, he almost went into his pit after apparently thinking he was called in for a stop. Then, on lap 24, Ryan Briscoe was penalized for hitting equipment during his pit stop. On lap 42, Scott Dixon spun in turn three after fighting for position with Will Power and became stuck in the gravel trap. On lap 47, Power was given a penalty for hitting equipment during a pit stop. A lap later, the race went back to a full course caution after Montagny and Martin Plowman made contact in turn 7. On the restart on lap 51, Juan Pablo Montoya made contact with Graham Rahal, causing Rahal to hit the wall on the front stretch. On lap 57, both Power and Montoya were penalized for jumping the restart. Montoya was also penalized for making contact with Rahal.
Simon Pagenaud went on to become the first winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Sebastien Bourdais, and Charlie Kimball.
The crash on the standing start was extremely scary. Sitting in the stands at IMS, all you could see was Saavedra’s car just sitting there and then just shattering after Aleshin ran into the back of his car. I wasn’t sure if he was injured or the extent of any inuries until all drivers involved climbed out of the car. I am so thankful that Saavedra, Aleshin, and Munoz are uninjured after that, but I just hope the series figures out the standing starts soon. I’m not a fan of watching drivers stall, spin, or crash on the starts.
I actually really liked the Grand Prix of Indy. I hope IndyCar continues to put this race on. I was definitely among the skeptics when I first heard that this race was happening. However, that definitely changed after attending the race. It was a lot of fun to watch live. It’s not the Indy 500, but I think it can be an amazing and special race in its own right. Having the month of May kick off with racing on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a really good idea. Here’s to many more years for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.