From Dixon’s Dominance, to Ericsson’s Ecstasy

Marcus Ericsson is making a habit of this. He now has three wins in the NTT IndyCar Series, and all three of them have come under strange circumstances, misfortune to other drivers and being at the right place in the right time. And all three wins have also come after a mi-race red flag.

His first win came last season at Belle Isle. Will Power was leading the race when there was a late race crash, bringing out a red flag. Ericsson was running second. When engines were restarted, Will Power’s wouldn’t start. The field drove by the helpless Power and Marcus Ericsson collected his first career IndyCar victory.

A couple of months later in Nashville, Ericsson ran over the back of Sébastien Bourdais during the first yellow flag, and flew up in the air. There were actually two red flags in that race. Colton Herta had dominated the race, but was trailing Ericsson late. With five laps to go, Herta crashed heavily and brought out the second red flag. Ericsson won the Inaugural Music City Grand Prix in near darkness in somewhat bizarre circumstances.

Today, Scott Dixon started from pole and led 95 laps before speeding on pit lane during his final pit stop. He was issued a drive through penalty on Lap 177, which effectively took him out of the running – ending a day of domination that appeared to be his. Dixon finished twenty-first as a dominating day ended with a whimper. It’s easy to say Dixon deserved better, but he did it to himself.

It’s frustrating when an engine malfunction or getting caught up in someone else’s crash ends a good race early. It must be especially frustrating to ruin your day with an unforced error.

As cars continued to pit, I kept studying the scoring pylon. I dawned on me with about twenty laps to go that once all the cars pitted – Marcus Ericsson was going to win this race.

Then Jimmie Johnson crashed on Lap 195 in Turn Two. Race officials decided to red flag the race, hoping to give fans a green flag finish – much to the dismay of Ericsson’s crew. Once the cleanup was finished and the engines were re-fired, the race went green at the end of Lap 197. On the white flag lap, Ericsson had already held off a charge by Pato O’Ward, when Sage Karam crashed in Turn Two. The yellow came out when Ericsson was between Turns Three and Four, sealing his win.

I’ve already seen on social media where people are saying Ericsson is boring, he hasn’t paid his dues and he doesn’t appreciate what he just did. I sat and listened to his post-race press conference in the media center, and I can assure you – he is ecstatic about this win and he understands what it means.


Marcus Ericsson does not show his emotions like Helio Castroneves, but that doesn’t mean this win does not mean a great deal. Once today sinks in, he will be very appreciative of what he just accomplished.

That will do for me from IMS today. I will still have my Random Thoughts on Monday. My brother and I are going to meet Paul Dalbey and his son at Dawson’s for one last meal at my favorite place for this Month of May. Thanks to all that followed along through this Month of May that was personally disjointed for me, with Susan’s health and all. This was a strange one for me, but it ended on a good note with a good race. Please check back here tomorrow.

George Phillips

4 Responses to “From Dixon’s Dominance, to Ericsson’s Ecstasy”

  1. A well written summary. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Leigh O'Gorman Says:

    Happy for Marcus. He was there when he needed to be and sometimes that’s what matters.

  3. He checked out after getting around the McLarens of O’Ward and Rosenqvist. Neither the red nor the yellow flag affected the battle for the win. Congratulations to Marcus!

  4. I too was so pleased for Marcus. He is quiet, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t stoked about winning the 500. Now I want a Sneaky Swede tshirt!

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