BELLE ISLE, Mich – Scott Dixon may have ran away on the final couple restarts in Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, but there a rookie was chasing him down over the final 20 laps of the event.
Marcus Ericsson found himself up front after the carnage that occureed in the second race of the doubleheader weekend on Belle Isle. It wasn’t a fluke either. Ericsson, drove a great race and had his No. 7 Honda in second in the closing stages. Not only was he in second, he had two of the all-time Indy Car greats in front and in behind him.
Dixon, had five championships and 45 race wins now in front of the Swede. Will Power had 35 wins behind him. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi, two guys that are also among the best in the series behind Power.
Ericsson, held them all off in the end but couldn’t catch Dixon and had to settle for a runner-up on Sunday. It was his first career Indy Car podium and second top 10 of his young career. Despite being able to close the gap with Dixon on those restarts, Ericsson said that he wished that there wasn’t so many.
“It was quite a few too many restarts for my liking honestly,” said Ericsson. “My tire wear was actually quite good there in the end. With how it was going, I was starting to catch Scott (Dixon) there towards the end and I thought we might catch him and battle for the win. It was quite tough there. Those experienced guys were right there on me and I’m still learning. I was happy with the restarts.”
Ericsson, says that this finish was extremely important to him. He had some of his former F1 crew guys here since they race in Montreal next weekend. Not only that, he doesn’t want to race for those guys next year either. Nothing against them, he just wants to stay here in Indy Car and says that a finish like Sunday helps his contract negotiations.
“It’s extremely important,” said Ericsson. “This year hasn’t been that good results wise. We’ve been strong and had the pace everywhere but we haven’t been able to have a complete weekend. We’ve been close. That’s why it’s so important to get this result.
“For me, I’m fighting to get a new contract in IndyCar and to get a new contract here you have to have results like we’ve had today. That was a very important day.”
It’s also important that Belle Isle is the first track that Ericsson has now seen twice. See, he’s never raced on any of these tracks before. But, with Belle Isle being the only track on the schedule that the series races on twice in the same season, Ericsson finishes second in his second try on the same track.
“Exactly, I tell Sam and Ric that look what happens when I get to a track for a second time and the result. It’s definitely a good boost.”