Andretti Autosport sophomore Devlin DeFrancesco was collected in a violent crash on the opening lap of Sunday’s (March 5) NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The incident took place as the field exited the street circuit’s winding turn 2-3 complex. Contact between Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist led to a stack up further back in the field, in which Santino Ferrucci made contact with the rear end of Helio Castroneves.
DeFrancesco was caught up in this bottleneck effect and ended up sitting nearly stationary on the racing line. He was then struck hard on the left-hand side by Benjamin Pederson, who had no opportunity to avoid DeFrancesco’s No. 29 Honda.
“Yeah, no – I’m fine,” DeFrancesco said after leaving the care center. “A really hard knock and not the way we wanted to start the season … We had our concerns for turn 3; we made IndyCar very aware of it. You know there were multiple incidents there all weekend, it’s been slippery and, you know, that was the scenario that happened.”
The force of the impact lifted DeFrancesco’s car into the air, where it rotated 180 degrees before coming back to the ground on all four wheels. Other cars involved included Sting Ray Robb and Simon Pagenaud.
“I saw Helio spinning in front of me and really was on the brakes and there was nowhere to go,” the Canadian recalled. “And then I saw the [No.] 55 coming and I was like ‘Yeah, this is going to be a big one’ so I just braced up and got ready for it. It was a wild ride.”
All drivers exited their cars under their own power, though Castroneves was seen walking with a limp after exiting his No. 06 machine.
NBC Sports has reported that DeFrancesco, Ferrucci, Pagenaud and Castroneves have been checked and released from the AMR care center. Pagenaud described having a “little finger issue,” but there have been no major injuries among the drivers involved.
Castroneves told NBC that his leg has been X-rayed and there are no serious concerns, although he is still experiencing some pain.
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.
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