The early stages of the inaugural Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville were a mess with three cautions in the first 19 laps, but it was the return to green on lap 20 where things got ugly as Team Penske’s Will Power and Simon Pagenaud made contact that triggered an 11-car track blockage.
With Power sailing down the inside of Pagenaud in Turn 11 on the way to reaching the starter’s stand, a side-by-side clash forced Pagenaud’s No. 22 Chevy to nose into the wall as Power slowed, gathered himself, and motored away. Behind him, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay went into the wall next to Pagenaud, and behind them, Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Takuma Sato hit both cars, sending the rear of Pagenaud’s car a few feet in the air.
REPLAY: The incident involving multiple drivers that brought out the red flag in Nashville.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) August 8, 2021
From there, and accordion effect ensued as including Jimmie Johnson was hit from behind by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou. Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, ECR’s Conor Daly, Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware (who incurred heavy damage), championship contender Josef Newgarden and Andretti’s James Hinchcliffe were all part of the melee. A red flag was shown as NTT IndyCar Series safety workers attempted to clear the stricken and blocked cars.
No injuries were reported among the 11 drivers who were affected.
Polesitter Colton Herta held the lead when the race was paused.