Marcus Ericsson is not backing down heading into this weekend’s Music City Grand Prix and as the NTT IndyCar Series championship gets down to crunch time.
A win in the Indianapolis 500 vaulted the 31-year-old Swede to the top of the points standings in early summer. Consistent finishes allowed the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to hold the top spot until last week’s Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
He heroically climbed to 11th after starting 25th but lost the points lead to Team Penske’s Will Power. but he was disillusioned with the result after a yellow flag torpedoed his strategy.
“I was a bit angry looking back at the race because that yellow came out during lap 35 or 36, really ruined our strategy because we, we have done a really long first stint,” said Ericsson. “When I’m watching it back, you know, with five seconds from P6 and, and having a really big advantage for the rest of the race, I think, you know, top six finish was definitely on the car there until that caution came at the worst timing for us.”
Ericsson aims to go 2 for 2 in Nashville following his win in last years inaugural event. The Swede’s victory was audacious starting by launching vaulting over Sebastien Bourdais on Lap 5. He served a penalty and made seven pitstops before taking the lead under caution on Lap 56 and never looking back.
The former Formula 1 driver feels primed in his chances for a repeat in Music City, albeit less dramatic.
“I’m planning to do the victory lane part again maybe not the airborne and crashing on Lap five part!” he said. “It was also cool because it shows that in IndyCar, you know, anything can happen, right? Like it’s so many things that can happen in a race. You can have a good car and good speed in your car and yourself, you can always sort of crawl your way back in a race.”
While he’s confident that he can rise from a negative situation, he confessed that managing the risk vs reward is a fine line.
“I think obviously it’s a dangerous thing if you think too much of points and not taking risks because then you, you’re gonna put yourself in difficult situations,” he said. “For example, you know, last race when I’m fighting from the back of the field and I’m, you know, going wheel to wheel with some guys, as, you know, doing everything for a P15 and it could be their highlight of the season. You know, then it is hard for me to do the same risks like them because I need to not DNF.
“So it’s things like that that you have to keep in mind, but also, like I said, it’s, it’s a fine line there. The way to go with it is to try and maximize every weekend. If we have a chance to win, we need to win. If we have a chance to be P5, we need to be P5.