By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Marcus Ericsson had two of his best results of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season at Detroit and Texas, but the former Formula One racer has a bit of a mountain to climb after Friday practice for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
The No. 7 Arrow Electronics Honda was 20th in the Friday morning practice session and 22nd in the afternoon around the 14 turn, 4.014 mile road course but the Swedish driver is thinking positively.
“I think the car was all right, obviously the pace was not where we wanted,” said Ericsson. “We were a bit slower than expected. I thought it started off quite well in the first practice but then we were struggling a bit to get the hang of it, especially in the second session. We have a bit of work to do tonight to dig into it. Obviously it’s a new track for me so I’m sure there is quite a bit in the driving as well still to find but we have a bit of work in front of us.”
After racing in Formula One for five years, Ericsson is racing at Road America for the first time, a track that is more old-school in that mistakes are punished quite severely. Many tracks in Ericsson’s career have large areas of asphalt runoff that doesn’t make drivers regret making mistakes that often. At Road America, the smallest mistake can result in a large penalty off track or even wall contact with barriers close to the circuit.
“It is a very difficult track,” said Ericsson. “For sure with limited runoff areas, you need to sort of build up your pace and it’s quite bumpy. It’s definitely one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar I would say so far at least but that’s also what makes it fun. It’s a tough track, you need to commit a lot out there and really push hard but within the limits. It’s not easy but I’m enjoying it and I’m sure with a nice sleep on it we’ll be out there in a strong way.”
Ericsson has had to build up to the limit during practice but pushed too far during the second session. Going off after Turn 7, Ericsson hit a pair of WeatherTech signs.
“I went a bit wide and there were these advertising boards out on the grass,” said Ericsson. “Out in the grass you don’t want to make too many sudden movements. It was going quite fast so I just decided to go straight and just hit the sign instead of trying to avoid them.”