Indianapolis ( Associated Press) – Marcus Ericsson had to leave Formula One to become a global superstar – a goal achieved on Sunday when the Swedish driver won the Indianapolis 500.
Ericsson took control of Sunday’s race late and kept it under control for Chip Ganassi Racing until a rare red-flag stoppage was brought by teammate Jimmy Johnson at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with four laps remaining.
IndyCar is one of the purest forms of motorsports and rarely uses artificial precautions or issues stoppages that could change results. But the crowd of more than 300,000 – just a few thousand shy of a sell-off and the biggest sporting event since the pandemic began – roared when IndyCar called the cars to the pit road.
The stoppage gave Pato O’Ward and the rest of the challengers about 12 minutes on the pit road to devise a strategy to hold Ericsson for the win. The race resumed with two laps remaining and Ericsson easily leapt over O’Ward, but the Mexican got a final finish for the lead that Ericsson had defended.
An accident in traffic prompted caution and Ericsson reached the victory podium under yellow.
It is the fifth Indy 500 win for team owner Chip Ganassi, who rode on the side of Ericsson’s car to the victory podium. Ericsson is the second Swede to win the Indy 500 in 106 runs, joining 1999 winner Kenny Brak.
He poured his jug of milk on his face, then handed the bottle to Ganassi so the owner could take his swag. Ganassi had not won the 500 in 10 years and sent five legitimate contenders to Indy to end the drought.
O’Ward, who signed an extension with Arrows McLaren SP on Friday, finished second. The Mexican was trying to give his country a banner celebration on the biggest day in motorsports; Sergio Perez started Sunday with a win at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Tony Kanan was third in a Ganassi car followed by Felix Rosenquist, another Swede, who was fourth for McLaren.
American drivers Alexander Rossi and Connor Daly finished fifth and sixth, with Rossi for Andretti Autosport and Daly for Ed Carpenter Racing.
Last year’s winner, Hélio Castroneves, finished seventh and one place ahead of Meyer Shank Racing teammate Simon Pagenaud. Defending IndyCar champion Alex Palu finished 10th in another Ganassi entry.
Honda drivers took six of the top nine places with the win.
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