Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson smashed a stunning win in the 2022 Indianapolis 500, piloting his Honda-powered race car through a field of lap bricks when it counted the most: the last lap. He had to hold on to a tough charging Patricio O’Ward, who is now home in second place and hopes a crash on the last lap wouldn’t have missed his chance on a last-corner pass. Ericsson was the second Swedish racing driver to win the 500 — Kenny Brack was the first in 1999.
Many fans cheered as the 33-strong field took to the green flag, kicking off the 106th edition of the famous Indianapolis 500. The race, one of the oldest and most important in the world, has taken place every year since 1911, except for the episodes surrounding wars and other major world events.
The first half of the race passed quickly, as only two short yellow flags interrupted the fast pace of the main pack. The first victim of the 500 was victory contender Reenus VeeKay at No. 21 Chevy, which hit the wall on Turn 2 but thankfully got out of the car and to the safety of the emergency crew. The next casualty occurred shortly after, with Callum Illot also placing No. 77 on the wall at Turn 2. The British racing driver did not suffer any injuries and the track clearance was relatively short, allowing the likes of Scott Dixon, Conor Daly, and O’Ward to continue their charge. in front.
And when every local in Indianapolis stood up, while local racer Daly fought veteran Dixon and was able to pass him for the race lead. After a few laps of clean running, however, the third yellow flag of the race appeared on lap 106. Former F1 driver and fan-favorite Romain Grosjean crashed into the wall on the — you guessed it — Turn 2. The French racer was discharged medical. center later.
“The impact wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I don’t know what happened,” Grosjean said on the IMS broadcast. “The back hit me even if it was good the whole race. That’s the race, unfortunately.”
The action resumed around lap 113, where Dixon and O’Ward quickly sold the lead over and over again. Daly came back in third but now his side mirrors are filled with No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP car by Felix Rosenqvist. Over the course of the next 20 laps or so, former winners like Helio Castroneves and Tony Canaan worked their way up in traffic, creeping into the top six in terms of position.
On lap 135, Dixon broke an all-time record after leading a total of 645 laps using this Honda-powered, Ganassi-owned car, the most carried by anyone in the course of their racing career in 500. The New Zealander also broke the record for fastest qualifying speed during Qualifications weekend last week. Those are two big records for the most winning IndyCar driver.
Both Dixon and Daly squeezed in lap 143 while O’Ward inherited the lead. The Mexican race driver stopped to look for fuel and tires on lap 145, giving Canaan the lead in the race for two laps. It didn’t take long, as Rosenqvist was able to hold Dixon long enough on the track, allowing O’Ward to lead his way out of the pits. On lap 147, the McLaren driver led Iceman and Daly.
In just 49 laps, Scott McLaughlin of Penske carried the fourth yellow flag in the race, also marking the fourth single-car incident this year. The front end of the Chevy was momentarily cut off in the middle of the corner, causing him to lose control and hit the wall hard. The New Zealander was able to jump out of the car and was taken care of by the crew. The action continued on lap 158, leaving only 42 laps of racing left.
With just 25 laps, disaster struck again for Dixon, as he was given a drive-through penalty for violating the 60-mph speed limit during his last pit stop on lap 178. The two Chevy-powered McLaren machines inherited the leadership of the race, Rosenqvist ahead of O’Ward with just 20 laps left.
With only six laps left, Jimmy Johnson crashed on Turn 2, causing a red flag from control of the race. The field was stopped so the safety crew could clean up the track, giving fans a two-lap shootout once the race continued. Ericsson defended strongly and finally benefited from a last lap yellow flag.
Four -time winner Castroneves could only finish seventh, while other fan favorites like Canaan are in third. This race also marks another win for Honda against Chevrolet, which has taken the win seven times in the past 10 years.
While not entirely sold out, this year’s Indy 500 still welcomes over 350,000 fans and is definitely one of the most memorable of the dozen I’ve attended. Aside from the 100th run a few years ago, there was a special buzz on the field, with people excited to return to a full-capacity race after a limited admission event in 2021 In 2020, the 500 will run without fans for the first time in its 106 -year history.
The IndyCar championship now heads to Detroit’s Belle Isle street course, where a single-race weekend takes place on Sunday, instead of the traditional double-header Saturday-Sunday from previous years.
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