Ericsson admits IndyCar title hopes are now “far away” ahead of finale


Posted on

| Written by

Marcus Ericsson led the 2022 IndyCar Series championship by as many as 35 points less than two months ago. Now, this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner heads to the last race of the season at Laguna Seca Raceway as a distant long-shot to win the title – even if he has a perfect weekend.

“To be honest, the championship is quite far away now,” Ericsson lamented when he spoke to NBC after the Grand Prix of Portland.

He expected a difficult race after a mystifying lack of pace in qualifying which left him 18th on the grid. Ericsson admitted that he put himself on the back foot early in the race.

“Starting back there, we were hoping for some chaos in turn one, and for once that didn’t happen,” he said. “And I did a mistake on the first lap – I did a good start, but then I got out in the gravel in turn six, and dropped a few positions. We ran well back in around 20th after the first few laps, and from then on, it was difficult.”

In a bid to gain track position, Ericsson went long on his first stint riding on the harder primary compound tyres, all the way until lap 32 before making his first stop.

“We tried some things with the strategy, I think the eight crew did a good job, trying things. We tried to go long, we tried to mix things up, and I think that helped us up through the field,” Ericsson remarked.

“And then I had a really good last stint, starting 16th on the restart and overtaking my way up to 11th.”

The Swedish driver seemed relieved just to have finished in the top half of the 25-car field after a strong final stint on the softer alternate compound tyres, but admitted that he was, “struggling a bit too much in general, this week, to finish higher up.”

Following his somewhat unexpected triumph at Indianapolis, in the only race which pays double points, Ericsson led the IndyCar points table over six of the next seven races. In that span, he only conceded the top spot briefly when Will Power won the Detroit Grand Prix, before taking it back the following round at Road America with a second-place finish. Since Road America, he has five top-ten finishes, but only one top-five (at Toronto), and no podiums or victories.

Ericsson has now slipped to fourth in the table, 39 points behind championship leader Power. Even if he won the Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, and collected all four bonus points for pole position and most laps led – he would still need Power to finish 15th or lower in order to win the title, assuming Power doesn’t lead a lap.

With the prospect of becoming champion now out of his hands, Ericsson says he isn’t really trying to do anything more than win the season finale and see where the likes of Power, Josef Newgarden, and Scott Dixon finish the race behind him.

“We had a good test there, we were fast, the car has been good there in the past,” Ericsson said about his prospects of winning at Laguna Seca. “So, I go into that weekend to win the race.” In his previous two starts at Laguna Seca, Ericsson has finished 11th in 2019 (with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and sixth in 2021.

“I go there, aim to win, and then we see how far that gets us with the other people that we’re up to. That’s the mind set we have to have now for the last one.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Browse all IndyCar articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Ericsson admits IndyCar title hopes are now “far away” ahead of finale”

  1. Yeah, the last couple of races have seen Ericsson really drop from the radar results wise.

  2. The double points for the lucky Indy500 win made him overachieve in the championship standings.
    Anyway, both Indy 500 and the last race of the season award double points, so nothing is lost.

    RK DRIVER points / wins
    1 Will Power 523 / 1
    2 Josef Newgarden 503 / 5
    2 Scott Dixon 503 / 2
    4 Marcus Ericsson 484 / 1
    5 Scott McLaughlin 482 / 3

    The mathematics here are gonna be super interesting. The scoring for the top-3 is gonna be: 100-80-70.. pts.
    Will Power having only 1 win in the season cannot win the championship if he wins the finale with either Newgarden or Dixon coming in second. Wow! That’s gonna be crazy!

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought indycar dropped double points for the final race a couple of years ago. Either way it will be an interesting finale

    2. someone or something
      6th September 2022, 11:55

      Anyway, both Indy 500 and the last race of the season award double points, so nothing is lost.

      Nope, they dropped the silly double points for the final race three years ago. The points awarded at Laguna Seca will follow the usual 50-40-35-… pattern.

      1. Oh, didn’t know that, thanks! Actually, that’s much better.

    3. Exactly spot on with Indy win points. Without that multiplier he would have been out of contention long ago.

  3. Basically, Ericsson needs to win the race and to have aliens from outer space to abduct Will Power for any hopes to become a Champion. And Newgarden and Dixon to have a really bad day.

    To put it simply – it ain’t gonna happen.

    And if my calculations are correct, Power needs 10th or better and there’s nothing his rivals can do to take it away from him…

  4. Marcus has had a great year and totally earned his Indy 500 win. Winning the championship is a very hard prospect, a top five finish would make for a terrific year for him.

Comments are closed.