A common theme in this week’s prerace NTT IndyCar Series driver quotes, is that Road America, the site of this weekend’s race, is among their favorite race tracks in the entire world.
“I think if you were to poll the drivers, Road America would consistently be the favorite road course for most of the field,” said James Hinchcliffe. “We’re really excited to get back there.”
“Road America is one of the best tracks we visit because it’s just a really pretty track, it’s fun to race at and the fans are always so great. I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend,” said points leader Josef Newgarden.
“I am looking forward to driving at Road America this week,” said Matheus Leist. “It’s such a nice track and a beautiful place. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the calendar.”
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Road America again. It’s my favorite road course in the United States,” said Sebastien Bourdais.
I could go on and on but you get the point. So, what about for a rookie driver? Marcus Ericsson is equally as excited to get on track at Road America as everyone else on Friday but for a different reason though. See, he’s never raced on the 4-mile road course before. Other than testing in a simulator, he’s never even seen the place.
But, the Swedish rookie brings a wave of momentum into Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America (12:30 p.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). It wasn’t all that long ago that the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver was 21st in the points standings. Now, he’s up to 15th.
That’s all because everything is clicking now. Ericsson, finished runner-up in the second Duel in Detroit three weeks ago. He then backed tha tup with a seventh place run in his second ever oval start two weeks ago in Texas. He’s led his first career Indy Car laps in each of the last two races as well.
Now, he’s heading to a track that should suit his driving style very well with a whole heap of momentum in his pocket.
“Another new race and track for me in Road America,” said Ericsson. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, and I’ve watched a lot of races from previous years. It looks amazing. I was also in the simulator the other day preparing for the weekend. It seems like a super-fun track, very challenging and one of the best on the calendar from what I can see. I’m really looking forward to getting there and see how it is in person. Also, we’re coming off of some good results – Detroit was a great weekend with our first podium, and then we followed that up with a strong showing in Texas. I think we have some momentum going, so we’re looking to build on that and have another strong weekend in the No. 7 Arrow car at Road America.”
Ericsson, is hoping to turn these finishes into a future in this series. See, many felt that Ericsson would use 2019 as a stepping stone back to F1. After all, he his still a reserve driver for one of the teams. But, he’s now quickly found out why drivers come over here and don’t leave.
This is pure racing.
Ericsson, has been very vocal on social media about how great it is to race here. He told me in Belle Isle that he’s working on a deal for next season and hopes that these finishes he’s been having prove to his bosses that he’s worthy of a second contract.
He doesn’t sound like a driver wanting to go back oveseas to F1. This is a home he hopes to remain in for the foreseeable future.
First up, Road America this weekend.