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Massive wreck at start eliminates three Andretti cars from Gateway

Alexander Rossi got swept up in a wreck during the first lap of Race 1 at World Wide Technology Raceway and was forced to retire for the day, along with two other Andretti cars.

A six-car crash on the way to the green flag eliminated three Andretti Autosport drivers before the start of Saturday’s NTT IndyCar Series race at World Wide Technolgy Raceway at Gateway.

Andretti teammates Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti and Zach Veach were knocked out by damage from the crash, which seemed to start when several cars slowed off Turn 4 because of a late green flag as pole-sitter Will Power led the field.

Alex Palou pulled out of line and was followed by Simon Pagenaud, who then was hit by Oliver Askew. That started a chain reaction that collected the Andretti cars.

IndyCar officials penalized Palou and Askew for avoidable contact and sent both to the back of the field on the restart.

Veach said he tried to move to the middle lane when the inside lane slowed.

“That’s when I saw Pagenaud sideways,” Veach said on NBCSN. “From that point, everyone jammed on the brakes. We tried to stop the best we could, but it seemed everyone was in the same position. The window closed so quickly, some of us were left without an option.”

The crash, which also took Ed Carpenter out of contention, caused the first 14 of the race’s 200 laps to be run under a yellow flag.

Pagenaud’s team changed a front wing, but he retired after completing 66 laps because he was unable to make minimum speed.

“Think we had a good car today, never even got a chance to really test it for tomorrow,” Pagenaud told NBCSN pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s a little too much excitement at the start of the race from the back of us. Real shame.

“The front slowed, down, and I don’t know if it was the accordion effect. It is what it is. It’s very unfortunate. Need them to be willing to just be a bit more patient.”

The incident continued a miserable season for Rossi, who had crashed Sunday after leading in the Indy 500.

After the Gateway wreck, Rossi climbed from his No. 27 Dallara-Honda, hopped the pit wall and walked directly to teammate Colton Herta’s pit apparently for an explanation of what happened.

“I was trying to go straight,” Rossi told NBCSN pit reporter James Hinchcliffe after watching the replay. “I’m not laying blame. It’s very reminiscent of a Michgan iRacing start at the beginning of the year.”