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Grosjean livid over early exit from IndyCar's Thermal $1m Challenge

Romain Grosjean was furious following his violent exit from the opening 10-lap heat of IndyCar’s inaugural Thermal Million Dollar Challenge after being hit from behind approaching the first corner.

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, crash

Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

On the run towards Turn 1, Juncos Hollinger Racing driver Grosjean was hit by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon – who had already brushed wheels with a fast-starting Colton Herta (Andretti Global) as the race went green.

The nose-to-tail contact with Dixon sent Grosjean spinning out of control through the dust towards the apex of the first corner.

He rejoined the track and slammed into the side of Rinus VeeKay’s Ed Carpenter Racing car, which connected with Christian Lundgaard’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry.

Team Penske’s Will Power dropped to last place in the melee, having taken avoiding action in the run-off area.

On his team radio, Grosjean ranted: “F**k, who did that? Who the f**k could not brake?!”

“I got hit under braking, really, really badly at the back and then the car spun,” Grosjean told NBC.

“Who is going to pay for the damage? We come here with no points on the line, we do nothing wrong and the car is completely smashed.”

After watching a replay from an on-board camera, he responded: “What is that? It's not what I signed [up] to IndyCar for.”

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, crash

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, crash

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Dixon was given a drive-through penalty for causing the multi-car shunt and apologised to those who got caught up in it.

“There was a lot going on, that’s for sure,” said Dixon, who failed to progress along with VeeKay and the delayed Power.

“I think initially Herta and I got into it, and then Grosjean went to the left – I thought he was going all the way to the left, which was going to open up the middle – but then, all of a sudden, he started to fade back to the right.

“And everyone stopped so early, a lot earlier than I thought we were going to, especially with the massive headwind that we had going on.

“Obviously I don’t want to collect anybody and I apologise to anyone who was collected in that incident.

“It was all going on in a short space of time, so sometimes it happens unfortunately.”

Felix Rosenqvist claimed victory in the opening heat, and advances to the final along with Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Lundgaard, Agustin Canapino and Herta.

The second heat was won by Alex Palou, while Marcus Armstrong, Graham Rahal, Linus Lundqvist, Pietro Fittipaldi and Alexander Rossi also reached the final.

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