By: Tanner Watkins
June 3, 2019 | 1:00 PM
In perhaps the least likely of places, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Marcus Ericsson found a long-awaited podium finish at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday.
The rookie NTT IndyCar Series driver dueled with the circuit’s best yesterday to challenge five-time champion Scott Dixon for the race win and hold off two-time Detroit winner Will Power for a runner-up finish. It is Ericsson’s best finish in eight IndyCar starts and his second top-10 run of 2019.
In an up-and-down month of May that saw Ericsson crash out of the INDYCAR Grand Prix, comfortably qualify for the Indianapolis 500, win the pit stop competition and then spin during the race itself, the second-place effort at Detroit is vindication for not only himself but his No. 7 team.
“It was amazing, my first podium since 2013 and you just have to thank the whole team at Arrow SPM,” said Ericsson, 28.
“They work so hard all year and we had so much bad luck, and I’ve done mistakes when we’ve been looking really good. So, to finally get a result like this and be on the podium, I think is a great reward for all of the hard work. Now, I think we can build on this.”
For Ericsson, 2019’s IndyCar experience has had to be a breath of fresh air for the Swedish driver.
In five Formula One seasons between 2014 and 2018, Ericsson’s best result was an eighth-place run in Melbourne back in 2015. It was his debut drive for Sauber F1, and he would finish in the points ten times after that point.
In just the third race of 2019, Ericsson was able to top his best F1 finish by placing seventh at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. While the year started out with certain challenges – like qualifying 16th or worse for each of the first four races – Ericsson has done well to right the ship as we near halftime on this season.
While freshman contenders such as Felix Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci and Colton Herta all stand in front of him in the Rookie of the Year chase, there is no reason to believe that the experienced Ericsson can’t put together a string of results to challenge for that honor.
Currently, Ericsson is just 24 points back of Rosenqvist for the rookie points lead, and anything is possible on Saturday night in Texas – another wild card oval.
Now that Ericsson has had his first taste of true success – dating back to his GP2 days – you can bet there will be a renewed sense of drive in the No. 7 pilot this weekend on the high banks of No Limits Texas.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.