INDIANAPOLIS – Marcus Ericsson has never qualified on an oval before. In fact, he’s never raced on an oval before either. On Saturday, he had to do his first qualifying run on an oval in what some drivers say are some of the most stressful laps of their racing careers.
See, qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an on edge moment. The car feels like it wants to snap away from you at any given moment. You’re going fastest speeds than you’ve gone all year. You’re pulling g-forces like a space shuttle blasting off in all four corners.
Oh yea, you’re racing against the clock.
Despite all of that, Ericsson not only earned his second best starting spot of the season, he was the second quickest rookie for next Sunday’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network) in earning the 13th starting spot.
The Swedish rookie, says that the planning by his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racing team made him as comfortable as one could be.
“That’s the thing, we’ve done the week really good preparing for it,” said Ericsson after his qualifying run. “Taking it step by step. We haven’t skipped any part of this leading up to it. That made me when I woke up this morning very confident. I have a good car that I could trust. That’s the main thing. I went into Turn 1 knowing the car is going to be there and do what I want and it did.”
Ericsson, said that the whole experience was very stressful though as it tested his mental fitness as well as physcially too.
“For sure it’s up there,” the rookie driver said. “It’s just the build up. You’re just standing there in line and waiting your turn and you’re out there on your own and it’s all on the line. It’s definitely very stressful. That’s where you have to have a strong mental side and switch it all off and execute.”
Ericsson, said oval qualifying was so fun, he’d like to see other series do this around the world.
“Yeah I guess it is,” Ericsson said on his first oval qualifying try. “It’s very different. I like this. I think other series should try to do this. To go out there on your own and the attention is on you and you only get one shot, I think that’s a good thing to do. It makes for a great show as well.
“I’m very happy with the run today. The week has been great you know. I’m feeling excited for what’s next.