Car goes airborne in wild wreck on first lap of IndyCar Series season

Devlin DeFrancesco's car went spinning in the air after a hard hit from Benjamin Pedersen

The 2023 IndyCar season opened with a car going airborne on the first lap.

Devlin DeFrancesco’s car went airborne on the opening lap of the St. Petersburg Grand Prix after he was hit by Benjamin Pedersen in a wild crash at the back of the field. Pedersen, a rookie, was one of the last drivers in the crash and he piled into DeFrancesco’s car so hard that it sent the No. 29 car into the air spinning like a top.

Take a look at what happened:

Per the NBC broadcast, no one involved in the crash was “seriously injured.” Helio Castroneves appeared to have a slight limp after he got out of his car.

Simon Pagenaud, Santino Ferrucci and other drivers were also involved in the crash. The wreck appeared to start when Ferrucci ran into the back of Castroneves and Castroneves’ spinning car blocked the narrow track.

Five drivers were officially declared out of the race after the crash because of damage. The race was red-flagged immediately after the wreck so the track could be cleared.

Kyle Kirkwood goes over Jack Harvey

DeFrancesco’s car wasn’t the only car to go airborne either. Just before the halfway point of the 100-lap race, Kyle Kirkwood’s car launched over Jack Harvey’s in another vicious wreck.

Harvey was able to climb from his car on his own but looked distressed when he exited the car. He was taken to a local hospital for observation in stable condition and released after the race.

Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin crash racing for the lead

Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin were the two drivers to beat on Sunday but took each other out on the final pit stop sequence of the day.

Grosjean was running second to McLaughlin and pitted first. He had hotter tires as McLaughlin pitted the next lap and exited just ahead of Grosjean.

Grosjean went to make a move to McLaughlin’s outside with a run out of the first two corners. But McLaughlin’s car got loose on cold tires as the two entered the next corner side-by-side and both crashed into the tire barrier.

Their crash put Pato O’Ward into the lead and O’Ward looked like he was going to hold on for the win until an engine blip with less than five laps to go. O’Ward’s car stumbled as it exited the hairpin corner and it allowed 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson to drive past him and score the victory.

O’Ward finished second while Scott Dixon was third.