IndyCar: Ericsson holds off Veekay to win Detroit GP – 1

After the 2nd red-flag and a 3-lap shootout, #8 Ganassi Honda driver Marcus Ericsson held off Ed Carpenter’s Rinus Veekay by 0.69s to win his very first IndyCar race in the first half of the Detroit GP doubleheader.

Ericsson had not won a race in a decade, since his GP2 days.

Ericsson took the lead on pit lane when the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet of leader Will Power would not restart after the red flag period on a humid, sunny day with an air temperature of 80 degrees. That apparent electrical control unit malfunction completed Ericsson’s charge from a disappointing 15th starting position, as the last five laps of the race – including two under caution – were the only circuits Ericsson led all day.

Will Power’s Chevy would not restart

Swedish driver Ericsson pulled away from VeeKay’s No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet over the closing three laps under green of the 70-lap race, winning by 1.7290 seconds at an average speed of 93.509 mph. NTT P1 Award winner O’Ward was third in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, 1.9105 seconds behind Ericsson.

“For once, things fell my way,” Ericsson said. “It feels really good. For Will, I feel really bad for him with the way it ended for him. He did a tremendous job today. But it was my day today, and it was about time.”

Polesitter Pato O’Ward passed Takuma Sato with 2 laps to go to get the final podium position.

Top-3 finishers

Sato’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan teammate Graham Rahal rounded out the top-5.

Will Power, who was leading when the 2nd red flag came out with six laps to go when Romain Grosjean hit the wall, looked like he was going to win, but the Chevy engine in the #12 Verizon 5G car would not restart on pit lane.

Earlier the race was red-flagged after 27 of 70 laps due to a scary accident involving Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist.

Rosenqvist was running alone when his throttle stuck wide open sending him head-on into the tire wall in Turn 6. The force was so great the concrete wall behind the tire wall was knocked over.

He was awake and alert with no life-threatening injuries, but he was placed on a backboard and sent to the hospital for x-rays on his legs and back.

Safety crews work on getting Rosenqvist out of the car

Formula One veteran Ericsson also became the seventh different winner in the first seven races this season, a feat last achieved in 2017 and a milestone reached only in five prior seasons in the series’ century-long history. He is the fourth first-time career winner in 2021, joining Alex Palou, O’Ward and VeeKay.

Power and Ericsson were the dominant drivers in the closing stages of the race. Less than a second separated them once Power took the top spot on Lap 54 when leaders Rahal and RLL teammate Santino Ferrucci – on a different pit stop cycle – pitted on Lap 53.

Marcus Ericsson

A hotly anticipated closing duel between 2014 series champion and 39-time INDYCAR SERIES race winner Power and Ericsson vanished when Grosjean hit the wall in Turn 9 on Lap 64. Series officials decided to halt the race under red-flag conditions, with all cars entering the pits. After a break of seven minutes, 29 seconds, the race resumed – without Power at the front of the field.

His ECU apparently malfunctioned, and his Team Penske crew could not start the car. The crew quickly installed a new ECU, and a dejected Power returned to the track and finished 20th, three laps down.

Power Furious with IndyCar

“It was very disappointing in how the race ended for us. Everyone on the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevy team worked incredibly hard to put ourselves in position to get a win that we desperately needed. There are definitely things that can be looked at when there is a red flag that late in the race. It’s something that we have to put behind us, though, because we have another race tomorrow and we have shown we have a car that can win.”

“I’m mad at IndyCar because I’m the first car in and they wait for the last car to come to get a fan on that car and it roasts the ECU,” said Power.

“And just going red flag for starters… like, the guys up there in race control never listen to any drivers. They never listen. They don’t care.

“We’ve given them so many good suggestions and they don’t care.

“I worked my arse off today, [just] to have this happen. Like I’m screaming on the radio, ‘We need a fan, get a fan…’ because ECU always overheats.

“They wait for everyone. These guys have still got air coming in their car.

“You work your arse off in this sport, so much money goes into it and it’s just dumb decisions like that.

“If it’s not a yellow they throw, it’s some stupid idea like this, a red flag.”

Visibly animated, Power threw his towel down in disgust after being cost a possible 40th series win.

It was a tough day for the top two drivers in the standings entering this race, Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Palou and Dixon. Palou finished 15th after starting last in the 25-car field in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda, while Dixon ended up eighth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda.

Palou led Dixon by 36 points entering this event, but that lead was sliced to just 15 over O’Ward, who leaped over Dixon into second. Palou has 263 points, O’Ward 248 and Dixon 237. VeeKay is fourth with 231.

Detroit Race 1 Results

Pos No Name Laps Diff Gap Led ST Engine Points Team
1 8 Marcus Ericsson 70 0.000s 0.000s 5 15 Honda 189 Chip Ganassi Racing
2 21 Rinus VeeKay 70 1.7290 1.7290 0 12 Chevy 231 Ed Carpenter Racing
3 5 Pato O’Ward 70 1.9105 0.1815 3 1 Chevy 248 Arrow McLaren SP
4 30 Takuma Sato 70 8.1688 6.2583 0 16 Honda 163 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
5 15 Graham Rahal 70 9.4645 1.2957 4 20 Honda 179 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
6 45 Santino Ferrucci 70 9.5670 0.1025 0 21 Honda 85 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
7 27 Alexander Rossi 70 10.3406 0.7736 2 2 Honda 128 Andretti Autosport
8 9 Scott Dixon 70 10.8956 0.5550 16 11 Honda 237 Chip Ganassi Racing
9 18 Ed Jones 70 11.9428 1.0472 2 4 Honda 100 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
10 2 Josef Newgarden 70 12.5061 0.5633 0 5 Chevy 204 Team Penske
11 14 Sebastien Bourdais 70 13.5792 1.0731 0 10 Chevy 108 AJ Foyt Enterprises
12 22 Simon Pagenaud 70 13.8274 0.2482 0 9 Chevy 219 Team Penske
13 20 Conor Daly 70 14.7925 0.9651 0 17 Chevy 102 Ed Carpenter Racing
14 26 Colton Herta 70 16.0887 1.2962 0 6 Honda 170 Andretti Autosport
15 10 Alex Palou 70 17.2534 1.1647 0 25 Honda 263 Chip Ganassi Racing
16 60 Jack Harvey 70 18.2898 1.0364 0 19 Honda 135 Meyer Shank Racing
17 29 James Hinchcliffe 70 19.0114 0.7216 0 13 Honda 87 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
18 4 Dalton Kellett 69 1 LAPS 1 LAPS 0 24 Chevy 74 AJ Foyt Enterprises
19 3 Scott McLaughlin 67 3 LAPS 1 LAPS 0 23 Chevy 154 Team Penske
20 12 Will Power 67 3 LAPS 17.3818 37 7 Chevy 141 Team Penske
21 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 65 5 LAPS 1 LAPS 0 8 Honda 103 Andretti Autosport
22 59 Max Chilton 65 5 LAPS 0.8869 0 18 Chevy 36 Carlin
23 51 Romain Grosjean 63 Contact 7.2591 1 3 Honda 89 Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
24 48 Jimmie Johnson 49 Mechanical 14 LAPS 0 22 Honda 31 Chip Ganassi Racing
25 7 Felix Rosenqvist 23 Contact 7.2567 0 14 Chevy 87 Arrow McLaren SP

Lap Leaders:
O’Ward 1-2
Rossi 3-4
Grosjean 5
Jones 6-7
Power 8-11
Dixon 12-27
Power 28-48
O’Ward 49
Rahal 50-53
Power 54-65
Ericsson 66-70

NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings: Palou 263, O’Ward 248, Dixon 237, VeeKay 231, Pagenaud 219, Newgarden 204, Ericsson 189, Rahal 179, Herta 170, Sato 163.

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