By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
For the first time since Barber Motorsports Park in early may, Marcus Ericsson failed to finish in the top 10 in the NTT IndyCar Series.
The Chip Ganassi Racing No. 8 came home 11th in Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Road Course, causing the Swedish driver to lose the point lead for the first time in six races.
It started on Friday when a mechanical problem on his opening qualifying lap made him unable to post a time, resulting in a 25th-place starting point.
From this position, the Chip Ganassi Racing team set the No. 8 with a long stint on black tires to get an edge on the competition and assist his long way through the field.
An ill-timed yellow, however, halted the progress.
“We were just starting to gain from that strategy when that yellow came out, very badly timed for us,” Ericsson said. “It hurt our race quite a bit. I think without that yellow, we could have been top seven or eight today. After the yellow, everyone was on the same strategy from then on.
“All the work we did in the beginning of the race, we didn’t get any of that gain for the second half.”
With an eye on the big picture, Ericsson didn’t leave Indianapolis with his head down. Though dropping to second in the championship behind third-place finisher Will Power, a minor gap of nine points has Ericsson ready for another comeback next week in Nashville.
“Overall, we got to be quite happy with starting 25th and finishing 11th,” he said. “I was hoping for a top 10 but 11th is close enough. We’re still very much in the mix for the championship.
“We need to maximize every race now in the stretch to the finish. After yesterday, that was the goal today — to try and get back to a top 10 and get as many points as possible. I’m decently pleased with it.”