Marcus Ericsson outduels Pato O’Ward to win Indy 500

 Marcus Ericsson outduels Pato O’Ward to win Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS – Marcus Ericsson won his 106th Indy 500, defeating Pato O’Ward in an exciting finish on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Swedish driver led the last 11 laps, but it wasn’t easy as the race was red-flagged with five laps left for a crash involving Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jimmie Johnson.

After a restart with two laps remaining, Ericsson got a good jump and then held off a charge from O’Ward, with Arrow McLaren SP teammate Felix Rosenqvist directly behind and Tony Canaan on the outside.

RESULTS: Where it all ended in the 106th Indy 500

Ericsson’s No. 8 Dallara-Honda won by 1.7829 seconds against O’Ward, with Canaan, Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi circling the top five.

The race ended under yellow for a wreck involving Sage Karam.

This is the first win of the 2022 season for Ericsson and the third of his career.

Ericsson, who is in his fourth full season at IndyCar after a short career in Formula One, drove like a veteran in the last two laps, running all the way straight to break the draft. in the cars behind him.

Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson won the Indy 500 with his No. 8 Dallara-Honda, his first win of the 2022 season and third of his IndyCar career (Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports).

“I can’t believe it,” Ericsson told NBC Sports ’Marty Snider. “I feel like you can’t accept anything for no reason and obviously there are laps to go, and I pray really hard that it won’t be another yellow. But I knew it could be one. It’s kind of hard to refocus. But I know the car is amazing. The 8 crew and Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda did such an amazing job. That’s why I know the car is so fast.

“But it’s still hard. I had to do everything there to keep them, but I couldn’t believe it. I am very happy. My family, mom and dad and my brother, my boyfriend, my manager, they are all there now and I won. I can’t believe it. ”

It was the first Indy 500 win in 10 years for Chip Ganassi Racing, which entered the race with the fastest cars but had some of its rivals exhausted.

For the fourth consecutive time, Scott Dixon didn’t win from pole position, and it was probably the worst loss after leading the long race of 95 in 200 laps.

The No. 9 Dallara-Honda seemed to be in control until the last green-flag pit stop when Dixon was caught for speeding after entering the lead. The six-time IndyCar Series champion was eliminated in contention after serving a drive-through penalty for going too fast in the pit lane to enter.

“Are you serious?” an unbelievable Dixon asked his radio group.

In Lap 133, Dixon became the all-time Indy 500 leader in laps led, breaking the previous mark of 644 laps held by late four-time winner Al Unser.

It looks like Dixon, whose lone Indy 500 win from the pole in 2008, broke down to his critical error, especially when the pits opened on Lap 108 under yellow with his car about to run out.

Teammate Alex Palou was less lucky when the yellow came out for a Turn 2 crash involving Callum Ilott. Palou was trying to stop and had already committed to the pit lane when IndyCar closed it.

With his No. 10 Dallara-Honda without fuel, the defending series champion was forced to make another stop for emergency service while the pits were still closed, and he was forced to start behind the field outside the top 25.

The race turned into a shootout in the final 40 laps after a final caution for Scott McLaughlin who crashed the Turn 3 and 4 SAFER barrier. The No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet crashed at the exit on Turn 3 and made contact with the right front. After getting through the grass, McLaughlin hit the next corner but he managed to get out of the car.

“Bruised ego,” McLaughlin told Kevin Lee on NBC Sports. “We had a fast car race. It was running so fast. I was just caught in the rush of the wind. I was just caught, just snapped. Really upset for everyone.”

The warning flew for the first time on Lap 39 for Rinus VeeKay, who lost control of his No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet exiting Turn 2 while running in the second. The Dutchman, who joined two -time Indy 500 winner and fellow countryman Arie Luyendyk as one of the fastest drivers in Brickyard qualifying, was able to walk away from the wreckage, but his Ed Carpenter Racing entry was ruined.

In his third Indy 500, VeeKay qualified third and started in the front row for the second consecutive year.

“First of all, I have to apologize to all the fans and the team and everyone who worked so hard,” VeeKay, 21, told NBC Sports ’Marty Snider. “We put the car in the front row. We were at P2, but it was hard there. The car is relatively free in all races.

“Yes, I just turned on Turn 2, the car broke down. Once that happens, you’re a passenger and there’s nothing more to do. Yeah, just a bummer, really. I think we had a good shot at a good finish or maybe a win. But yes, I was caught unawares. ”

In his Indy 500 debut, Jimmie Johnson struggled to manage his No. 48 Dallara-Honda from the green flag and continued to fall from 12th starting position.

Struggling with an understeer condition as a driver who prefers to oversteer, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion pulled out of the top 20 early in the race.

After leading Lap 189 by running long before his last pit stop, Johnson caught his left front wheel in the grass below the white line and turned into the Turn 2 SAFER barrier on a front-end collision.

Johnson, with a contingent of nearly 100 on hand, was able to walk toward the safety truck.

Turn 2 was a bigger problem area than the crash site of Johnson, VeeKay, Ilott and Romain Grosjean, who saw the wall as it exited the corner of Lap 106. This is the first oval crash for the Formula One veteran, who has had several close calls in the past two weeks on the 2.5-mile track.

“The car spun; I don’t know why, ”Grosjean told Kevin Lee on NBC Sports. “There is no warning in that corner. No issue. Actually it was good at 1 and 2, 3 and 4 a bit harder, but 1 and 2, I was very good.

“I was really looking forward to going and looking at the data and trying and understanding because I wasn’t expecting anything bad in that corner, and obviously, I was walking around without any warning.”

Ilott left the IMS infield care center with bandages on his right wrist and hand.

“It was a little hard hit, and I hit again inside, but it was OK,” Ilott told Lee. “They checked on me. Apparently a bit of a right -handed issue, but we’ll see what it is in a few days. But big thanks to the safety team, to the safety barrier man, but sorry to the team pud. It hasn’t been so bad so far. ”

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