A rare occurrence opened the NTT IndyCar Series season as a red flag was used to halt the 100-lap contest before the first lap of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg reached its conclusion.
Turn 3 bit once again as Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon clashed with Felix Rosenqvist who was the first to clip the wall on entry to the corner, and with the Arrow McLaren driver running at a reduced pace, a slowdown occurred behind him which triggered a big pile-up as A.J. Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci hit Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves from behind.
The #FirestoneGP is red flagged after this lap 1 incident.#INDYCAR // @GPSTPETE pic.twitter.com/7s50XtKiTi
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) March 5, 2023
From there, MSR’s Simon Pagenaud slammed the right-side wall, and behind him, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Sting Ray Robb was entangled, along with Devlin DeFrancesco, who was hit and sent pirouetting through the air by Foyt’s Benjamin Pedersen.
“I feel really sad we made contact there,” Dixon said. “Honestly, I thought I was clear, but there was a small rub. I feel really bad for Felix.”
DeFrancesco told NBC Sports he was OK following the incident, with all drivers involved having been seen and released by IndyCar Medical.