Marcus Ericsson was happy with top-10s
In an IndyCar season that has seen a part-time Indianapolis 500 victor, nine race-winners and four first-timers – who have combined to win 7 of the 13 races so far, no less – a massive come-from-behind season champion might just fit the bill.To get more ericsson latest news, you can visit shine news official website.
And Marcus Ericsson knows a little bit about being the winner no one saw coming, about unpredictability, lurking in the shadows and pouncing on an opportunity when just a sliver of one exists. With nearly as large gap to 6th-place Colton Herta behind him (51 points) as series championship leader Pato O’Ward ahead (60 points), Ericsson feels as if this final three-race stretch of his sophomore campaign with Chip Ganassi Racing is a bit of a no-lose dilemma.
Because as much as his own personal beliefs had never waned between his eight-year gap in wins – 2013 in GP2 to this June in IndyCar’s Detroit Grand Prix – the 31-year-old Swedish driver didn’t exactly foresee a potential championship push in his near-future. Just a year ago, Ericsson came away relatively satisfied with a 12th-place season that included nine top-10s over 14 races but without a single banner weekend that might spark that simmering flame inside.
“You always have to believe in your own ability, but for me, doing all the junior categories and winning races pretty much every year and then doing five years of Formula 1 and running in the back, I think it’s impossible not to feel some effect from that,” he told IndyStar in an exclusive interview. “This year, I really wanted to show I can be competitive at this level.
Six races into 2021 and this season, frankly, didn’t look too different from 2020 for Ericsson and his No. 8 Ganassi Honda crew. Consecutive top-10s at Barber and St. Pete set a positive tone, but a late-race issue in Texas Race 1 derailed a potential top-5 finish to 19th, pushing him much farther down the Race 2 starting grid set by championship points. He salvaged 12th, followed by 10th in the GMR Grand Prix and a Fast Nine appearance in the Indy 500 he turned into an 11th-place finish.
He was 10th, two positions better than a year ago and ahead of series regulars from Team Penske, Andretti Autosport and Arrow McLaren SP, but it looked as if 2021 might be another one of those years filled with incremental progress.
With just five laps to go in Detroit Race 1, Ericsson was having one of those banner days you’d hope for as a relatively new driver, one he achieved as a rookie in 2019 on this exact track. That runner-up finish with Arrow McLaren SP was one of just three top-10s that year. And when Power, the race leader at the time, failed to restart on the grid following a red flag period, Ericsson took hold of that good fortune and held off the rest of the field for his first IndyCar victory.
Opportunistic? Perhaps, but Ericsson would say with the unpredictability of IndyCar racing, sometimes it’s about being able to take advantage of others’ misfortune. Whatever the circumstances, Ericsson said that feeling of standing atop the podium in Detroit and taking a victory romp through the track’s fountain did something for his fire inside the car no amount of top-10s could.
It showed him what he was capable of in an Indy car. All of a sudden, 9th-place weekends – like his last two outings on the IMS road course and WWT Raceway – don’t feel so satisfactory.
Since the Indy 500, Ericsson has accumulated more points than anyone in IndyCar, and he leads the series in 2021 in points picked up in road and street course races.Last year, that would have been a good day. Not a fantastic one, but a good result,” Ericsson said. “But those, I was really pissed off. I felt those were bad days for us. We’ve shown we can win races and be on the podium, so we’ve moved our targets going into race weekends.”
It’s the type of mindset switch that allowed for his wacky win in Nashville. An IndyCar victory that exists on the same plane as Danny Sullivan’s ‘Spin and Win’ in the 1985 Indy 500, only without the sharp nickname. Ericsson’s brief four-wheel flight after ramping over the top of Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 14 on an early-race restart and ensuing victory was a masterclass in self-belief and calm in the cockpit.