Marcus Ericsson capitalizes late to win the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500

On a bright, sunny afternoon at Indianapolis, Indiana, that was dominated by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, teammate Marcus Ericsson capitalized late under the final 15 laps to storm to the lead and fend off the field during a two-lap shootout to win the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29.

The 31-year-old Ericsson from Kumla, Sweden, led three times for a total of 13 of the 200-scheduled laps, including the final 11, and had appeared to have the victory sealed with six laps remaining when the caution flew following a single-car wreck involving Ericsson’s teammate Jimmie Johnson. With the event briefly placed in a hiatus before being placed in a two-lap dash to the finish, Ericsson fended off a late challenge from Pato O’Ward to claim his first Indy 500 triumph under caution.

With the starting lineup determined through two on-track qualifying sessions between May 21-22, Scott Dixon started on pole position after recording the fastest four-lap average qualifying  speed at 234.046 mph, which was more than enough for him to notch his fifth Indy 500 pole. Teammate Alex Palou achieved the second-fastest four-lap average speed at 233.499 mph followed by Rinus VeeKay, who turned in the third-fastest four-lap average speed at 233.385 mph.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Dixon jumped ahead with the lead as the field scrambled behind. Then through the backstretch, Palou made a move on his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate to take the lead. As the field returned to the start/finish line, Palou led the first lap while Dixon and VeeKay battled for the runner-up spot.   

Through the first five scheduled laps, Palou was leading by more than a tenth of a second over teammate Dixon followed by VeeKay, Marcus Ericsson and Ed Carpenter while Tony Kanaan, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Will Power, and Romain Grosjean were in the top 10.

Three laps later, Dixon made a move on teammate Palou through the first turn to take the lead for the first time while VeeKay remained in third ahead of Ericsson and Carpenter. By the Lap 10 mark, however, Palou made a move to the outside of teammate Dixon through the frontstretch to reassume the lead.

By Lap 20, Palou, who had swapped the lead a handful of times with teammate Dixon, was leading ahead of teammate Dixon while VeeKay continued to run in third place. Ericsson also remained in fourth ahead of Ed Carpenter, Kanaan, O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci and Romain Grosjean while Will Power, Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden, David Malukas, Alexander Rossi, Jimmie Johnson, Simon Pagenaud, Conor Daly, JR Hildebrand and Scott McLaughlin were in the top 20. Meanwhile, Marco Andretti was in 22nd, Helio Castroneves was in 25th behind Sage Karam, Colton Herta was mired in 27th behind Callum Ilott and Juan Pablo Montoya was in 29th behind Jack Harvey. 

Ten laps later and with Dixon out in front ahead of teammate Palou, the first round of green flag pit stops commenced as Dixon surrendered the lead to pit along with Conor Daly and Dalton Kellett. Soon after, Palou pitted along with Santino Ferrucci, Jimmie Johnson, rookie Kyle Kirkwood, VeeKay, Grosjean, Devlin DeFrancesco, Stefan Wilson, Ericsson, Carpenter, Kanaan, O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Sato, Newgarden, Malukas, Rossi, Andretti, Power, Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey and others. 

When the green flag pit stops sequence concluded on Lap 37 as Castroneves and Montoya pitted, Palou cycled his way back to the lead followed by VeeKay, Dixon, Ericsson and Carpenter while O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Ferrucci, Kanaan and Sato were in the top 10.

Two laps later, the first caution of the event flew when VeeKay, who was pursuing Palou in the runner-up spot, got loose entering Turn 2 and collided against the outside wall, thus ending his event with a wrecked No. 21 Bitcoin Dallara-Chevrolet. During the caution period, some like Power pitted while the rest led by Palou remained on the track.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 46, Palou led teammates Dixon and Ericsson through the first two turns while the field behind jostled for positions. As the field returned to the frontstretch, Dixon reassumed the lead over Palou while O’Ward was up in third place ahead of Ericsson, Carpenter and Kanaan.

As the field reached the one-quarter mark on Lap 50, Palou swapped spots with teammate Dixon to reassume the lead while O’Ward, Ericsson, Carpenter, Kanaan, Sato, Rosenqvist, Ferrucci and Malukas occupied the top 10.

Nearing the Lap 70 mark, the second round of green flag pit stops commenced as Dixon, who was running in the runner-up spot behind teammate Palou, pitted his No. 9 PNC Bank Dallara-Honda along with Daly and Herta. 

Shortly after and just as Palou was making a pit stop, the second caution of the event flew when Callum Ilott got loose, spun and pounded the outside wall in Turn 2 before he slid down the track and pounded the inside wall as his Indy 500 debut came to an end with a wrecked No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara-Chevrolet. During the caution period, the majority of the competitors who had yet to pit pitted as O’Ward exited first ahead of Ericsson, Kanaan, Ferrucci, Carpenter and Rosenqvist. During the pit stops, Palou, who was penalized for pitting at the time where pit road was closed, made another pit stop for fuel as he was shuffled towards the rear of the field.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 77, Dixon, who cycled to the lead amid the reshuffling under caution, took off with the lead followed by Daly and O’Ward as the field fanned out through the backstretch.

Three laps later, Hoosier native Conor Daly overtook Dixon on the frontstretch to assume the lead for the first time in his No. 20 BitNile Dallara-Chevrolet as the crowd erupted in a chorus with cheers. During the following lap, however, Dixon reassumed the lead through the frontstretch. Daly, though, was quick to launch himself back to the lead another three laps later.

At the halfway mark on Lap 100, Dixon was out in front by nearly four-tenths of a second over Daly while O’Ward, Ericsson, Kanaan, Ferrucci, Carpenter, Newgarden, Rosenqvist and Sato were in the top 10. Simon Pagenaud was in 11th ahead of McLaughlin, David Malukas, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi while Sage Karam, Marco Andretti, Grosjean, Rahal and Montoya were in the top 20. Meanwhile, Will Power was in 24th, Palou was mired in 26th ahead of Kyle Kirkwood and Jimmie Johnson and Herta was back in 30th.

Five laps later, another round of green flag pit stops ensued as Daly pitted. Not long after, however, the caution flew when Romain Grosjean snapped sideways and collided against the Turn 2 outside wall, which left Grosjean with a wrecked No. 28 DHL Dallara-Honda and out in his Indy 500 debut. By then, this marked the third incident of the day, all of which occurred in Turn 2.

Under caution, the leaders led by Dixon, who was running low on fuel, pitted and Dixon retained the lead by exiting his pit stall with the top spot ahead of O’Ward, Ferrucci, Rosenqvist, Carpenter and Kanaan.

With 89 laps remaining, the race restarted under green as Daly, who cycled his way to the lead while also fending off Dixon for the lead, was quickly overtaken by O’Ward as O’Ward, fresh off a new contract extension with Arrow McLaren SP, made a bold move on the outside lane to rocket to the lead. Not long after, however, Dixon returned the favor by returning to the lead while O’Ward was left to battle against Daly and Ferrucci while Rosenqvist was in fifth.

With 75 laps remaining, Dixon was leading by nearly seven-tenths of a second over O’Ward while Daly, Rosenqvist and Ferrucci were in the top five. Kanaan stabilized himself in sixth place ahead of Ericsson, Takuma Sato, Carptenter and Pagenaud while Castroneves was in 11th.

Fifteen laps later, Dixon continued to lead by more than seven-tenths of a second over O’Ward while Daly, Rosenqvist and Ferrucci completed the top 10. Earlier, Colton Herta took his No. 26 Gainbridge Dallara-Honda to the garage due to a mechanical issue.

Just then, another round of green flag pit stops occurred as Dixon surrendered the lead to pit. Shortly after, Daly pitted along with Dalton Kellett, Rosenqvist, Sage Karam, Devlin DeFrancesco, Power, Jack Harvey, O’Ward, Ferrucci, Montoya, Rahal, Kanaan, Sato, Malukas, Pagenaud, Scott McLaughlin, Christian Lundgaard, Newgarden, Andretti, Ericsson, Castroneves, Rossi, Jimmie Johnson and others.

Down to the final 50 laps of the event and with the green flag pit stops sequence complete, O’Ward, who cycled his way back to the lead three laps earlier after Alex Palou pitted, was leading by more than a second over Dixon while Rosenqvist was up in third place. Daly and Ferrucci occupied the top five ahead of Ericsson, Kanaan, Pagenaud, Castroneves and Rossi.

A few laps later, the caution flew when Scott McLaughlin got loose briefly entering Turn 3 before shooting his No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara-Chevrolet dead straight into the outside wall as his event came to an end following the hard wreck.

With 43 laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Dixon overtook O’Ward to reassume the lead as the field fanned out to multiple lanes through the backstretch. O’Ward, however, was able to reassume the top spot with 39 laps remaining. 

Nearing the final 35 laps of the event, Dixon made another move on O’Ward exiting the frontstretch to reassume the lead. 

Three laps later, Ed Carpenter made a pit stop under green as Dixon was leading by two-tenths of a second over O’Ward and seven-tenths of a second over Felix Rosenqvist.

Then with nearly 25 laps remaining, another round of pit stops under green commenced as Rosenqvist pitted his No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet followed by Rossi while Dixon continued to lead ahead of O’Ward. Not long after, Dixon surrendered the lead to pit followed by Daly, Ferrucci and Christian Lundgaard. Then, disaster struck for Dixon, whose opportunity to win a second Indy 500 title was spoiled after he was forced to serve a pass-through penalty for speeding while entering pit road. With Dixon out of contention, Rosenqvist emerged as the first competitor who had pitted just as O’Ward pitted.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Tony Kanaan, who was one of several competitors who had yet to pit, was leading followed by Pagenaud, Palou, Castroneves and Newgarden while Power, Andretti, Johnson, Sato and Harvey were in the top 10.

With 15 laps remaining, Marco Andretti and Jimmie Johnson, both of whom had yet to pit, were leading followed by Ericsson, who overtook Rosenqvist earlier on the track and emerged as the highest-running competitor with fresh tires and enough fuel to the finish. Sato was in fourth followed by O’Ward and Kanaan while Harvey, Rosenqvist, Rossi and Daly were in the top 10.

Down to the final 10 laps of the event and with the green flag pit stops complete as Andretti and Johnson pitted, Marcus Ericsson cycled his No. 8 Huski Chocolate Dallara-Honda to the lead followed by O’Ward, who trailed by more than three seconds, and Tony Kanaan, who was charging hard in his No. 1 American Legion Dallara-Honda while trailing by more than four seconds, while Rosenqvist and Sato were in the top five.

Then with six laps remaining, the caution flew when Jimmie Johnson got loose after hitting the apron in Turn 2, spun and pounded his No. 48 Carvana Dallara-Honda head-on into the Turn 2 outside wall. The incident, which evaporated Ericsson’s steady advantage over O’Ward and Kanaan, was enough for IndyCar to direct the field to pit road and draw the event into a red flag situation.

When the red flag was lifted, the field made their way back on the racing surface under a cautious pace. As the race restarted under green with two laps remaining under green, Ericsson retained the lead with a decent start while O’Ward, Rosenqvist and Kanaan battled behind. It did not take, however, for O’Ward to pull away as he issue a challenge on Ericsson for the lead with both seeking their first Indy 500 victory.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Ericsson remained as the leader ahead of O’Ward, who gained a big run through the frontstretch as he tried to pounce alongside Ericsson for the lead and win, but Ericsson managed to pull ahead of O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet through Turn 1 to retain the lead while Kanaan and Rosenqvist trailed behind. 

Then as Ericsson made his way to Turn 3, the caution flew and the race was official when Sage Karam wrecked in Turn 2. With the race official and concluding under caution, Ericsson made his way back to the finish line to claim the biggest victory of his career.

With the victory, Ericsson became the newest winner of the Indianapolis 500 since Simon Pagenaud won in 2019 and the 74th overall as he notched his third NTT IndyCar Series career victory in his 52nd series start. The 2022 Indy 500 victory was also the first for Chip Ganassi Racing since 2012 made by Dario Franchitti and the fifth overall as Ericsson joined Kenny Bräck as the only Swedish competitors to win the Indy 500.

“I couldn’t believe it [when the caution flew],” Ericsson said on NBC. “I felt you can never take anything for granted and obviously, there was still laps to go and I was praying so hard. It was not gonna be another yellow, but I knew there was probably gonna be one. It was hard to sort of refocus, but I knew the car was amazing. The No. 8 crew and Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda has done such an amazing job so I knew the Huski Chocolate car was fast enough, but it was still hard. I had to do everything there and then to keep them behind. I can’t believe it. I’m so happy.”

“My family’s here,” Ericsson added. “My mom and dad, my brother, my girlfriend, my manager…they’re all here today. I won. I can’t believe it. I love [oval tracks].”

Behind, Pato O’Ward, who was aiming to become the first Mexican-born competitor to win the Indy 500, settled in a disappointing second place while Tony Kanaan, who was making his lone IndyCar start of the season, came home in third place.

“[Ericsson] was gonna put me in the wall if I would’ve gone for it,” O’Ward said. “We were alongside each other. Man, I’m so proud of the team and proud of myself. We did everything to get it done and even getting a massive run on him. We had no wicker, less downforce and still, not enough speed to get by him, even with a massive run. It’s frustrating, it’s bittersweet. I’m so proud, but it definitely stings because I feel like the team and I did everything perfectly to get it done and something that’s out of our control was why we’ve struggled in the end…Next year, we’ll come back with a faster and better race car and go at it again.”

Rosenqvist and Rossi finished in the top five while Conor Daly, Castroneves, Pagenaud, Palou and Santino Ferrucci completed the top 10 on the track.

Notably, Montoya finished 11th, Newgarden ended up 13th, Will Power settled in 15th, Ed Carpenter came home in 18th and Scott Dixon, who led a race-high 95 laps, fell back to 21st.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” Dixon said. “I don’t know. It must’ve been very close. I kind of came into the pit and I locked the rears [tires], kind of locked all four [tires] and I knew it was gonna be close. I think it was like a mile hour over or something. Just frustrating. The car was really good all day. We had really good speed. I think the team did an amazing job on strategy. I just messed up.”

Marco Andretti ended up in 22nd, three spots ahead of Takuma Sato, while Jimmie Johnson ended up in 28th place following his late accident.

There were 38 lead changes for nine different leaders. The race featured six cautions for 31 laps.

With his first Indianapolis 500 victory, Marcus Ericsson leapt from eighth to first in the championship standings by 13 points over Pato O’Ward, 14 over Alex Palou, 24 over Will Power, 52 over Josef Newgarden and 60 over Scott Dixon.

Results.

1. Marcus Ericsson. 13 laps led

2. Pato O’Ward, 26 laps led

3. Tony Kanaan, six laps led

4. Felix Rosenqvist

5. Alexander Rossi

6. Conor Daly, seven laps led

7. Helio Castroneves

8. Simon Pagenaud

9. Alex Palou, 47 laps led

10. Santino Ferrucci

11. Juan Pablo Montoya

12. JR Hildebrand

13. Josef Newgarden

14. Graham Rahal

15. Will Power

16. David Malukas

17. Kyle Kirkwood

18. Ed Carpenter

19. Devlin DeFrancesco

20. Christian Lundgaard

21. Scott Dixon, 95 laps led

22. Marco Andretti, three laps led

23. Sage Karam, one lap down

24. Jack Harvey, one lap down

25. Takuma Sato, one lap down

26. Dalton Kellett, two laps down

27. Stefan Wilson, seven laps down

28. Jimmie Johnson – OUT, Contact, two laps led

29. Scott McLaughlin – OUT, Contact

30. Colton Herta – OUT, Mechanical

31. Romain Grosjean – OUT, Contact

32. Callum Ilott – OUT, Contact

33. Rinus VeeKay – OUT, Contact, one lap led

Next on the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is the series’ final event at Belle Isle Street Circuit for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in Detroit, Michigan. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, June 5, at 3 p.m. ET on the USA Network.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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