Officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway allowed Mayor Greg Ballard to wave a ceremonial green flag to kick off the inaugural running of the IndyCar Grand Prix today, which was won by Simon Pagenaud. The attendance for today's race was embarrassingly small as evidenced by the empty stands. Debris was sent flying after pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra's car was struck from behind at the start-finish line by Carlos Muniz and Mikhail Aleshin when Saavedra's car stalled at the waving of the green flag. Ballard was standing in the pit area near the start-finish line waving the ceremonial green flag when he claims he was struck in the elbow by flying debris.
A review of the video shows that Ballard started waving the green flag wildly for media photographers after the cars had already started to move. Ballard continued waving the ceremonial flag even after the official flag man began waving the yellow flag oblivious to what was transpiring in front of him. The best view of Ballard can be found in the video above starting at 6:00. No visible debris struck Ballard from that video angle, but he nonetheless was transported to the infield emergency center for treatment of his supposed injured elbow, which was later revealed to be a very minor injury. A cameraman told WRTV he saw what appeared to be small pieces of debris fly in Ballard's direction. He just as likely threw his elbow out waving the flag like a dufus, but it makes for better media to make yourself a victim of a crash at the Speedway. There were at least a dozen people surrounding Ballard, none of whom were struck by debris. Ballard later tweeted:
Thanks everyone for well wishes & the great #IUHealth &@IMS staff for checking me out. Watching the rest of the race from home.
— Mayor Greg Ballard (@MayorBallard) May 10, 2014
This video uploaded to YouTube offers a better view of Ballard waving the flag and then holding his elbow: