Ericsson wins the primary Music Metropolis Grand Prix | leisure
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Using the slowed-down car in front of him as a launch pad, Marcus Ericsson shot up and over – with dangling wings – Sebastien Bourdais’ Chevrolet.
“I thought my race was over there,” said Ericsson.
Not in this wreck festival. Call the newest IndyCar race winner Marcus Air-icsson.
Ericsson captured the landing on his early race flight and avoided another disaster on the dangerous streets of Nashville on Sunday to win the inaugural Music City Grand Prix.
“I’m just trying to figure out how I won the race after flying and seeing the sky,” he said.
Ericsson saved fuel and survived hard charges from Colton Herta and Scott Dixon, winning his second race of the season. In the IndyCar points race, he moved up to fifth place with five races to go – 79 points behind leader Alex Palou.
Ericsson has no deal with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2022 and said, “I hope Chip watched today.”
“My biggest wish is to continue driving here in the eighth car,” said Ericsson.
He let the IndyCar highlight roll long before the checkered flag when he jumped Bourdais’ Chevy over the bum and knocked the French out of the race. Ericsson’s flying Honda took a new front wing just five laps after the race and said he thought the car was going to break in half.
The 30-year-old Swede won when it got dark in Nashville while Dixon, the six-time IndyCar champion, made a late run.
Ericsson took a break when Herta rammed his car into the tire barriers with five laps to go, ending his dominant weekend for Andretti Autosport. Herta took the lead in the first two training sessions, won pole and was in “a league of its own” with his team. He caught up with Ericsson and may have had the green light on the horizon as he crushed his car. Herta buried her head in her hands in disbelief.
“We had the car all weekend to win,” said Herta. “I just threw it away.”
Dixon was second to give Chip Ganassi Racing a 1-2 finish. James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal rounded out the top 5.
The Grand Prix was the first new street race in 10 years and enough fans to fill the stands at Nissan Stadium, party near live music stages, and line fences 10 rows deep with cameras up to take a picture of the quickest newbies to make in town.
“If there’s enough alcohol out there, it’ll definitely be a good show,” said Dixon.
The best seat in the house would have been without it when the fans stood high up in the stadium hall to get a bird’s eye view of one of the eleven corners of the track.
The 2.17-mile course snaked through the stadium parking lot and over a 3,500-foot straight that spanned the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge and hovered 25 meters above the Cumberland River.
“It was so cool to drive downtown on the track,” said Ericsson.
Better safe than sorry, diving teams and boats were on standby in an emergency.
The chaos lingered on the asphalt roads.
Team Penske drivers finished the race just a few laps later from Ericsson when Will Power dived into Simon Pagenaud and drove his teammate into the wall. That resulted in a massive pile-up of 10 races and the red flag was drawn for about 20 minutes.
There were nine warnings and two red flags in the race.
“There was no flow to the race. It was like we had six races, ”said Dixon.
Palou is 42 points ahead of Dixon in the overall standings.
Jimmie Johnson’s rookie season at IndyCar continues to encounter bumps on the road – or, in his case, a bridge. Johnson wrecked his car in morning practice for his second wreck of the weekend and had to use a replacement car. He used a spare car that teammate Palou shared. It was collected in the Penske crash and disqualified while the # 48 crew was working on his Honda – Johnson even helped transport spare parts – under the red flag. Johnson turned 26.
“I have a lot of fun, I learn a lot, and every week I get better and better,” said Johnson.
McLaren Racing will acquire a controlling stake in the Arrow McLaren SP racing team by the end of 2021 and plans to add a third car to its IndyCar offering.
The team is providing cars this season for Pato O’Ward, who was second in the points classification before Sunday’s Music City Grand Prix, and Felix Rosenqvist. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said on Sunday that he would like to add another full-time car in 2023 – perhaps as early as next season “if we find the right combination”.
“We have the resources, so the economy doesn’t matter, but we want to drive three cars, win the races and fight for the championship,” he said.
IndyCar returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday and hits the street circuit.
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