Cruel luck for Power hands first IndyCar win to Ericsson

IndyCar

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Marcus Ericsson survived a gruelling first race of the Detroit Grand Prix to capture his first career victory – becoming the seventh different winner in seven races this season.

The flash point of Saturday’s first race came on lap 24, when Ericsson’s fellow Swede Felix Rosenqvist suffered a terrifying crash at turn six.

Rosenqvist was extracted from his car and taken to a local hospital in downtown Detroit for further evaluation, but is stable and alert, and has suffered “no loss of function” according to IndyCar director of medical services Dr. Geoffrey Billows. The crash resulted in a red flag that lasted nearly 90 minutes, before the race resumed from lap 28.

Ericsson, who started 15th on a set of red sidewall alternate tyres, worked his way through the field after his first stint, and eventually found himself running in second position behind Will Power, who started seventh on a similar strategy. After the final round of routine pit stops, Power and Ericsson were running tail-to-nose up front, joined by Rinus VeeKay and Takuma Sato, who were battling for third.

A second red flag was thrown when Romain Grosjean crashed out with six laps remaining. The race restarted with three laps to go, but Power’s car refused to start at the end of pit lane. After leading 37 laps, the most of any driver, Power’s car was pushed out of line. As his 40th career victory slipped from his grasp, Ericsson moved to the lead of the race ahead of Sato, VeeKay, and O’Ward. Power was classified three laps down in 20th.

The final restart saw Ericsson get away cleanly, VeeKay and O’Ward get ahead of Sato to move into second and third respectively, and a mad scramble for the last places behind them. Despite the pressure from the two young drivers behind him, Ericsson held on to claim his first single-seater victory since the 2013 GP2 Series Nürburgring round, and his second podium finish in IndyCar – his first also came at Detroit two years ago.

VeeKay finished in second by 1.729 seconds, beating O’Ward to the line by just two tenths of a second. Points leader Álex Palou, who came back from 25th and last on the grid to finish 15th.

Three Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing occupied positions four to six: Sato led Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci, the latter in RLL’s third car for the second weekend. Alexander Rossi, who qualified second, matched his best finish of the season in seventh, just ahead of Scott Dixon in eighth. Ed Jones scored his first top ten finish of the season in ninth, and Josef Newgarden recovered from having his left-rear wheel come loose early in the race to finish in 10th.

Tomorrow’s second race is scheduled for a green flag start at 5:50 PM BST / 12:50 PM EDT (local time).

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Race result

PositionCarDriverTeamEngine
18Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
221Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
35Patricio O’WardMcLaren SPChevrolet
430Takuma SatoRLLHonda
515Graham RahalRLLHonda
645Santino FerrucciRLLHonda
727Alexander RossiAndrettiHonda
89Scott DixonGanassiHonda
918Ed JonesCoyne/VasserHonda
102Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
1114Sebastien BourdaisFoytChevrolet
1222Simon PagenaudPenskeChevrolet
1320Ed CarpenterCarpenterChevrolet
1426Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
1510Alex PalouGanassiHonda
1660Jack HarveyMeyer ShankHonda
1729James HinchcliffeAndretti SteinbrennerHonda
184Dalton KellettFoytChevrolet
193Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
2012Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
2128Ryan Hunter-ReayAndrettiHonda
2259Max ChiltonCarlinChevrolet
2351Romain GrosjeanCoyne/RWRHonda
2448Jimmie JohnsonGanassiHonda
257Felix RosenqvistMcLaren SPChevrolet

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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  • 6 comments on “Cruel luck for Power hands first IndyCar win to Ericsson”

    1. How / why did Grosjean crash, and then bring out red flag?

      1. @gabf1

        The replay only showed him going wide and locking up sliding into the wall. Seemed like he missed the apex and/or something unsettled his car and he lost grip. I guess they red flagged it to safely rescue the car and remove debris, it’s a relatively narrow part of the circuit.

    2. Way to go Marcus!! A real solid race with luck finally on his side. Would have been great to see him pushing Will to the end – it sure did look like Marcus’s car had something on Will’s car as the Husky team had suggested before the final red flag.

      I feel Marcus showed some real racecraft during the race and especially at the end – holding off VeeKay (who didn’t have the tires left, but sure did give it a try!) and O’Ward (who had to deal with VeeKay or may have given it a serious fight), for some tense final laps. I can only imagine the feelings he was experiencing as they pushed Will’s car out of the way and Marcus realized that he would be leading the pack to the start. He did well not pitching his car into the wall on the restart!

      Despite the horrible NBC coverage, who missed the start of the race due to extended Lacrosse coverage and cut away from the podium for Women’s Diving trials, and Indycar’s craptastic officiating, this was a super exciting race without the optional naptime so common during many F1 races lately.

      1. Indycar has made a commitment to try to finish races under green, not caution. What are the odds that a car won’t start after sitting out the red? Not much, but unfortunately for Will…

    3. Tough for Power, but after all the bad luck Marcus have had with his pit crew this season ruining some great positions i think it was nice for him for once to have luck on his side, he often have really good speed in the races.

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