Canadian driver Robert Wickens was attempting to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay, but the two collided. The fencing was shredded and Wickens' vehicle was reduced to just the tub, which came to a rest on the track along an interior wall.
Takuma Sato, Pietro Fittipaldi and James Hinchcliffe became collateral-damage drivers and the race was red flagged just seven laps in with none completed at full speed.
Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, was cleared and released from the medical centre. "I hope they have it here two, three times a year, and if they can have it more, that would be great", said Thomas Janovski of Milford. It's never good to see a vehicle go up (into the fence) like that, but I know he is in good hands.
"Part of the issue is we have five drivers in here in the aftermath of that crash", IndyCar Vice President of Communications Curt Cavin said.
"When I did that, with the debris, I lost the vehicle and hit him sideways".
"It's an exceptional day, but right now, Rob and James and everyone involved in that, Ryan, have our thoughts, and it's tough to really celebrate after what happened".
On Saturday, the second practice session for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway was cancelled because of rain.
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"We just like to be able to come in and see the cars, and it's just a lot of excitement when you see the cars running at the same time", Farley said. The nose of the vehicle hit the outside wall as the auto traveled at full speed.
"We can only hope one thing, that Robbie, Hinch and everyone involved is OK", Rahal tweeted during the delay. "Hopefully we'll see him back in the vehicle soon". "The start can be debated for years, but doesn't matter right now, focus on the well being of our friends and competitors".
Sebastien Bourdais initially did not want to get back in the auto after the red flag was lifted, concerned by the repairs made to the gaping hole in the catchfence. "He is OK as far as that goes", said Power.
Bourdais called the repairs, "pretty lousy".
The crash was a grim reminder of how drivers in open-wheel racing put their lives on the line. Hinchcliffe would have bled to death if not for the medical team holding the artery together as it raced him from the track directly to a hospital.
A year earlier, Hinchcliffe suffered a concussion when he was hit in the helmet by a piece of debris on the road course at Indianapolis.
Fittipaldi only returned to IndyCar action in the last round at Mid-Ohio after his leg-breaking crash in the World Endurance Championship event at Spa in May.
"I'm feeling great, thank God, you know obviously a little bit sore from the impact, but I'm 100 percent - no broken bones so, thankfully I'm fine", Fittipaldi said.