Marcus Ericsson scores his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory at Belle Isle Park
Honda drivers have now won five of seven races in 2021
Second race of doubleheader weekend runs on Sunday
Taking advantage of a late-race mechanical problem for Will Power, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson leapt to the front of the field following the second of two red flag race stoppages to win the opening round of the Detroit Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend. The victory is the first for Ericsson, now in his third season of Indy car competition, the third for Chip Ganassi Racing this season and the fifth for Honda.
The 70-lap contest was stopped twice, first on Lap 24 for a single-car crash that sent Felix Rosenqvist hard into the Turn 6 retaining wall. Rosenqvist was alert and conscious following the impact, but was transported to a local hospital for additional evaluation.
Running a close second to race leader Power in the closing laps, a second red flag – for Romain Grojean’s single-car crash – stopped the race with just seven laps remaining. A mechanical issue for Power prevented him from taking the restart, and Ericsson led the rest of the way to take the checkers by 1.7 seconds over Rinus VeeKay.
Following Ericsson, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan trio of Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci finished fourth through sixth, respectively.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 7 rounds)
Honda 576 pts
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship (unofficial, after 7 rounds)
1. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 263 [1 race win]
2. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP 248 [1 race win]
3. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 237 points [1 win]
・With Ericsson’s win today, seven different drivers – from seven different countries – have won the first seven races of 2021, tying the post-war record for different INDYCAR SERIES winners to start a season.
・In addition to Brazilian Helio Castroneves’ historic win last month at the Indianapolis 500, other Honda race winners this year include current championship points leader, Spaniard Alex Palou (Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama); defending and six-time champion Scott Dixon (Texas Race 1) from New Zealand; and American Colton Herta (Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg).
・Honda continues to hold the mid-season lead in the 2021 INDYCAR Manufacturers’ Championship, with five victories in the first seven races. Honda has a 20-point advantage (576-556) over rival Chevrolet. The company is seeking its fourth consecutive NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship in 2021.
・Honda-powered drivers have now won six of the last seven Indy car events run on the Belle Isle Park street circuit.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing activities on Belle Isle Park continue tomorrow with the second round of the doubleheader weekend. Sunday’s 70-lap closer starts at 12 p.m. EDT with live television coverage again on NBC.