By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Marcus Ericsson was having a super quiet, yet strong 4th of July at Mid-Ohio. That all changed as his eyes was towards victory in the Honda Indy 200. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as he wasn’t able to beat Josef Newgarden, losing by 0.8790 seconds.
On a day Newgarden owned the competition once again, Ericsson really put the pressure on the Penske competitor. It really transpired after both competitors pitted for the final time on Laps 54-55. Ericsson pitted a lap later than Newgarden, but both went with used primary Firestone tires.
Once pit stops were over, the race boiled down to the competitors. At one point during the latter half of the race, the gap between them was over eight seconds. It was down to two seconds with three laps to go.
Ericsson was really on the prowl of bringing Newgarden its third straight heartbreak. More so when Newgarden struggled getting around Turn 9, especially coming to the white flag when his No. 2 XPEL Chevrolet wobbled.
The situation was clear, Ericsson needed to cut a second-plus lead. With a better Turn 9 entry, Newgarden brought his team back to victory lane on the 50th anniversary weekend of Penske’s maiden Indy car victory.
Ericsson’s No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda crossed the line in second for his second podium of the year. Although a second career NTT IndyCar Series win wasn’t in the cards, it was a superb points day. Ericsson will head into the summer break fifth in the championship trail.
“We had a great day. The whole team getting 2-3-4 there was a great result. It was a true team effort,” said Ericsson. “My car was feeling great out there. We were pushing very hard to catch Josef. A couple more laps and we could’ve challenged for it. Overall, P2 was a very good result today.”
The Swede is proud of his Chip Ganassi Racing crew for the progress they’ve made over the past month. Something that will be key heading into Nashville Sunday, August 8 (5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
“Jumping up to P5 into the championship. It’s not too far from the guys ahead,” Ericsson on moving up three spots in the standings. “Very positive momentum since my win in Detroit (Race No. 1). We’ve had some really good weekends and starting to show what I can do.
“Really happy and feels good to go into the summer break now and recharge for the last part of the season.”
After 10 of 16 rounds, Ericsson trails points leader and teammate Alex Palou by 104 points. Palou rounded out the podium in the 80-lap contest.