It’s Good to be Back. Ericsson Wins Over Capacity Crowd

Marcus Ericsson celebrates winning the 2022 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500. [Media Credit – Penske Entertainment: James Black]

by Steve Zautke

During practice, Marcus Ericsson, driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing-Huski Chocolate Honda was consistently near the front of the speed charts all month. It eerily reminded me of Arie Luyendyk’s month of May in 1990. Luyendyk had recently moved over to Doug Shierson’s operation. Equipped with a Lola T90/00-Ilmor Chevrolet Luyendyk had constantly been near the top of timing charts all month. Qualifying on the outside of the front row, Luyendyk ended up winning the fastest “500” mile race ever, a record that he held for many years.

Ericsson ended up leading 13-laps, a mere fraction of what Chip Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon (95-laps) and Alex Palou (47-laps) led. Dixon was dominating the race until a pit road speeding violation, the same fate that happened to Palou basically ended their victory chances. It appeared that Dixon locked his tires for a moment, letting the car slide, just enough to incur a penalty.

This is Ganassi’s fifth Indianapolis 500 win. Ganassi team manager, Mike O’Gara who is Ericsson’s race strategist’s has previously worked in their Ford GT program as well as with Sarah Fisher-Hartman Racing (2010-2014). In the post-race press conference, Chip Ganassi mentioned that Ericsson’s car had barely any adjustments all day. “It’s amazing how many times that happens with a car that wins here.”

Fellow Swede, Kenny Brack joined the press conference on a Zoom call and spoke to Ericsson. “I am very proud of him, it was a good drive, well deserved.” Ericsson mentioned that Brack had helped make the transition from go karts to single seaters, very thankful for his during his formable years. Funny moment, For a moment Ericsson thought there was going to be another restart after the final caution then “I then realized I just won the race.”

Ericsson thought that one day IndyCar may be in his future. “I thought the ovals would suit me well, in F1, I loved high speed corners, so I had an open mind, I thought I could make the transition.” Ericsson went on to mention that he was always listening and learning and how it took him time to learn the constant adjusting of the car. He mentioned that he has had some of the best teachers with Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon helping him adjust and learn to drive the ovals. “The Texas podium was a sign that hard work was paying off and gave me confidence. I knew I had a car to win the race,” Ericsson mentioned.

CGR Managing Director, Mike Hull says that resources make the difference at Chip Ganassi Racing, “If you see what the drivers have in common, they don’t have baggage, they’re good teammates, they’ve won races, and they want to win.” Team owner Ganassi wanted to correct a misconception that Ericsson is overlooked. All the teams get equal resources, his sponsor is not based in the United States so he doesn’t necessarily get that PR push that the other teams get and may not appear in the media as much such as Jimmie Johnson with Carvana, Dixon with PNC Bank or even Palou’s NTT Data.

Arrow-McLaren pilot Pato O’Ward finished second after leading 26-laps. Asked after the race if he had any reservations about not pushing the issue more with Ericsson late in the race, O’Ward stated flatly, “Oh no, he would had wrecked me, definitely.” When asked how he drove the final laps. “You clinch a bit every turn.”

Tony Kanaan is 47, the same age as Bobby Unser when he won his third Indianapolis 500. “It’s crap that people think I still can’t drive” to paraphrase Kanaan. Finishing 3rd today, TK looks like he could drive another 500-miles. He’ll drive next year if Chip wants him. “We’re not throwing him out yet” Ganassi mentioned when asked about Kanaan later.

Team Penske had a miserable race. Scott McLaughlin was running the best when he slammed into the wall. Will Power and Josef Newgarden were mired in the pack, running outside the top-15 most of the day. This is another miserable “500” for the team who had worked tirelessly in the off-season trying to improve their performance at IMS. Not since 1974-76 has the team been so off the mark.

Who led lap 187? Yes it was an Andretti, Marco Andretti. Although not in the hunt, due to pit stops, Andretti led three laps, 185-187. Interestingly, Jimmie Johnson was the leader prior to Marcus Ericcson taking the lead for the final time on lap on 190, although he had to survive several hard attacks from O’Ward and endured a red flag. Ganassi was asked about it after the race, “I was probably handling it better than he (Ericsson) did (laughs).

The Speedway had to be excited about the crowd, it looked good on television, the place was packed and the general consensus from many fans was, “it’s good to be back.” I agree it was good to be back. – Steve Zautke

106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Race Results
INDIANAPOLIS – Results Sunday of the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (5) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 200, Running
2. (7) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (6) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 200, Running
4. (8) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 200, Running
5. (20) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running
6. (18) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 200, Running
7. (27) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 200, Running
8. (16) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 200, Running
9. (2) Alex Palou, Honda, 200, Running
10. (15) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (30) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (17) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running
13. (14) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
14. (21) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running
15. (11) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
16. (13) David Malukas, Honda, 200, Running
17. (28) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 200, Running
18. (31) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 200, Running
19. (4) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 200, Running
20. (24) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 200, Running
21. (1) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
22. (23) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
23. (22) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 199, Running
24. (32) Jack Harvey, Honda, 199, Running
25. (10) Takuma Sato, Honda, 199, Running
26. (33) Stefan Wilson, Chevrolet, 198, Running
27. (29) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 198, Running
28. (12) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 193, Contact
29. (26) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 150, Contact
30. (25) Colton Herta, Honda, 129, Mechanical
31. (9) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 105, Contact
32. (19) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 68, Contact
33. (3) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 38, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 175.428 mph
Time of Race: 02:51:00.6432
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 6 for 31 laps
Lead changes: 38 among 9 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Palou, Alex 1 – 7
Dixon, Scott 8 – 9
Palou, Alex 10 – 12
Dixon, Scott 13 – 16
Palou, Alex 17 – 21
Dixon, Scott 22 – 29
Palou, Alex 30
VeeKay, Rinus 31
Ericsson, Marcus 32
O’Ward, Pato 33 – 35
Palou, Alex 36 – 47
Dixon, Scott 48 – 50
Palou, Alex 51
Dixon, Scott 52 – 53
Palou, Alex 54 – 57
Dixon, Scott 58 – 59
Palou, Alex 60 – 68
O’Ward, Pato 69 – 72
Dixon, Scott 73 – 79
Daly, Conor 80 – 81
Dixon, Scott 82 – 83
Daly, Conor 84 – 85
Dixon, Scott 86 – 108
Daly, Conor 109 – 111
Dixon, Scott 112 – 140
O’Ward, Pato 141 – 143
Kanaan, Tony 144
Ericsson, Marcus 145
Palou, Alex 146 – 147
O’Ward, Pato 148 – 157
Dixon, Scott 158 – 160
O’Ward, Pato 161 – 164
Dixon, Scott 165 – 174
O’Ward, Pato 175 – 176
Kanaan, Tony 177 – 181
Palou, Alex 182 – 184
Andretti, Marco 185 – 187
Johnson, Jimmie 188 – 189
Ericsson, Marcus 190 – 200

Ericsson 226, O’Ward 213, Palou 212, Power 202, Newgarden 174, Dixon 166, McLaughlin 162, Pagenaud 157, Rosenqvist 154, Herta 142, Rossi 141, Daly 137, VeeKay 134, Rahal 130, Grosjean 128, Castroneves 123, Lundgaard 103, Sato 100, Malukas 90, Kanaan 78, Kirkwood 77, Harvey 73, Johnson 71, Ilott 71, Ferrucci 62, DeFrancesco 62, Hildebrand 53, Carpenter 49, Kellett 45, Montoya 44, Tatiana Calderon 41, Andretti 17, Karam 14, Wilson 10

Share Button