The IndyCar Series season-opener has been marred by a six-car crash just seconds into the 100-lap race, resulting in one driver getting airborne.
The chaos kicked off deep in the record 27-car pack when McLaren driver Felix Rosenqvist slapped the wall out of turn three courtesy of a touch from former Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon.
As Rosenqvist slowed and the field checked up, chaos unfolded. In amongst the carnage, Andretti Autosport driver Devlin DeFrancesco launched into the air like a spinning top.
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The red flag was quickly drawn and racing was brought to a halt on lap one.
Meyer Shank Racing driver Helio Castroneves was the first to get out of his car, carrying a limp. His teammate Simon Pagenaud was caught up in the melee too.
Replays showed the crash began in earnest when AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci got into the back of Castroneves, sending him into a spin.
That left DeFrancesco nowhere to go, who slowed and copped a hit by David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing which sent the Canadian into a spin.
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Series rookies Sting Ray Robb (Meyer Shank Racing) and Benjamin Pedersen (AJ Foyt Racing) were among the last drivers onto the scene at high speed.
Pedersen piled into the side of DeFrancesco’s car, which launched it into the air.
The field duly returned to the pit lane, minus those caught up in the carnage, while the track was cleaned up.
Despite the severity of the hit, DeFrancesco was quickly cleared by the onsite medical team.
“I’m fine, I had a hard knock, and it’s not the way we wanted to start the season,” he said.
“We had our concerns with turn three. We made IndyCar very aware of it. There were multiple incidents there all weekend.
“It’s been slippery and that was the scenario that happened.
“I saw Helio spinning in front of me and there was nowhere to go. Then I saw (Pedersen) coming and I was like ‘Yeah, this is going to be a big one’.
“I just braced up and got ready for it. It was a wild ride.”
Of the six cars, just Robb was able to return to the race having lost his front wing and suffered a puncture in the incident.
After a lengthy delay, racing resumed with Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean leading teammate Colton Herta.
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