Beauty Out of Chaos- Quick Thoughts on St. Pete

Like a sculptor who has to make several attempts to make a poiece of art,who makes big mistakes and destroys the work in search of pergection, the beginning of the NTT Indycar season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg began in chaos and ended in a great three way fight for the lead.

The last 20 laps or so had great racing as Marcus Ericsson tracked down Pato O’Ward to take the win. Scott Dixon hing on to third but never really threatened the top two.

I can’t recall watching a race where two cars became airborne in two separate incidents.

The promiose of a great weekend for Andretti Autosport ended in the walls and tire walls of St.Petersburg. Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean threw away their front row starts. Kyle Kirkwood recovered from contact to salvage 16th place.

Whuch leads me to wonder-is Kirkwood the driver I believed him to be? He had a fresh start with a strong team, showed speed until his qualifying incident yesterday, thenhas more contact during the race. I guess we need to wait a little longer to find out.

Great job by Callum Ilott finishing fifrth. The top fic=ve is big boost to Juncos Hollinh=ger. Augustin canapino did a solid job finishing the race.

Alexander Rossi finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. I hope we will see this type of performance consistently from him in 2023.

The Andretti/Mclaren rivalry may becoma a Ganassi/McLaren battle. Tody’s results had Ganassi first and third and McLaren second and fourth. This matchup would be an intriguing battle as the two teasms who have tussled over drivers go head rto head. Sixteen more times, please.

The Foyt’s team misfortunes continue. I don’t know how one team can consistently be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Indycar app did not work in the stands. I also heard from others at the track who had issues with it. It has not worked well all weekend. Let’s hope by Texas it is working properly.

I wonder why Indycar didn’y sweep the track during any of the caution periods,

Turfn three see,e=med the root of many of the troubles. The series might want to look at it before next March.

I will have a follow up story on the nrace tomorrow. Thanks for following along this weekend.

The Ticket

From IMNS tonight:

Ericsson Unveils 107th Indianapolis 500 Ticket
at Hockey Game

 INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Feb. 10, 2023) – NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Marcus Ericsson combined two of his passions – winning races and ice hockey – when he unveiled the ticket for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Friday night, Feb. 10 in Indianapolis.Ericsson earned his first victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” last May in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, and one of the many spoils for the winner is the honor of unveiling the ticket for the next year’s race.

The honor of the winning driver featured on the next year’s “500” ticket dates to Mauri Rose’s appearance in 1948.Swedish native Ericsson lifted the cover from the colorful ticket, featuring a photo of him dousing his head in the winner’s famous bottle of milk, during Indy 500 Night at the Indy Fuel hockey game at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. He is an avid hockey fan and played the sport as a youth before focusing on racing.

“I’m super excited to be here for Friday night hockey,” Ericsson said. “I’m a big hockey fan, playing hockey as a kid. I’ve been to a few (Fuel) games. It’s always a good time. Obviously, being the Indy 500 Night is extra special, and unveiling this year’s Indy 500 ticket is really exciting.”

It was the second Indy 500-related honor in as many weeks for Ericsson, who is entering his fifth NTT INDYCAR SERIES season this year. He and team owner Chip Ganassi also received their “Baby Borg” replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy for winning the Indy 500 last week during the series’ open test at The Thermal Club near Palm Springs, California.

Ericsson will defend his Indianapolis 500 victory Sunday, May 28 in the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with live coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Tickets for the Indy 500 and all Month of May activities are on sale at, by calling the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700 or by visiting the Ticket Office.The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season starts Sunday, March 5 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding in St. Petersburg, Florida (live, noon ET, NBC and INDYCAR Radio Network).

Ericsson Unveils Ticket for 107th Running of Indianapolis 500 February 10

The Indianapolis 500 ticket unveil moves to another new venue as Marcus Ericsson will unveil the ticket for the 2023 race Friday, February 10, during the second intermission of the Indy Fuel hockey game at Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum.

Ericsson, winner of the 106th running of the 500 in 2022, is a former hockey player and will get to see his image on the ticket for the first time. The revealing of the ticket means fans will soon have tickets in their possession.

Daly to Attempt Daytona 500

Conor Daly will attempt to qualify for next weekend’s Daytona 500 mile race. Daly will drive car 50 for The Money Team, a team owned by boing legend Floyd Mayweather. Daly will compete for one of four open spots in the field. Daly may race for The Money Team up to six more times in 2023.

Indy NXT Broadcast Times Set

The broadcast start times for the Indy NXT series have been set. All races are on Peacock. The 14 race schedule features two ovals and three doubleheaders.

Ericsson Leads Session 3

Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing led the third Spring Training session as lap timnes continue to improve. 13 drivers had times in the 1:38 range. Yesterday’s leader, Colton Herta, was 14th. Kyle Kirkwood, who missed the second round yesterday afternoon, was third fastest nthis morning. Kirkwood was second quick Thursday morning.

The session ended about 90 seconds early when Felix Rosenqvist suffered his third off road of the two days of practice.


The final test session begins at 4:30 PM eastern.

Marcus Ericsson Joins Speedway Legends 0n The Borg Warner Trophy

The image of 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson is now on the Borg warner trophy, fixing his place oi Speedway history. The unveiling took place this morning at Union 50 in downtown Indianapolis. Through 2018, the winner’s image unveiling was a small public affair at the IMS Museum. In 2019 Simon Pagenaud first saw his face on the trophy in France. Helio Castroneves’ mage for 2021 occurred at the PRI show.

Following a short clip of the end of the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500, a brief video message from Kenny Brack,, the 1999 winner, and a fellow Swede of Ericsson, played.

IMS resident Doug Boles and Borg Warner representative Michelle Collins introduced Ericsson, who removed the covering from the trophy bas and had his first look of his face on the trophy.

Today’s affair was an elegant event that the Penske footprint all over it. A luncheon followed the invitation only ceremony.

Indycar photo

The likeness is one of the more authentic ones in the last few years. I have felt many of the recent image son the trophy looked pretty much the same. Ericsson’s image is very true to life.

Doug Boles introduces Ericsson

The crew of the number 8 Huski Chocolate car

Ericsson’s Image Added to Borg Warner Thursday

From IMS- Invitation only, but streaming available.

Ericsson To Unveil Image on Borg-Warner Trophy
Thursday in Indianapolis
 Marcus Ericsson will unveil his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy as the winner of the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 27 at Union 50 in downtown Indianapolis.
Ericsson, from Sweden, won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the first time May 29 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Ericsson and other special guests will be available for interviews following the ceremony at Union 50, a restaurant located on 620 N. East St. in the popular Mass Ave section of Indianapolis.
Fans can watch the invitation-only event live on and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

Points Battle- Spoilers, Helpers, Bonus Points

Will Power has a very tenuous lead heading into the final two races

The Indycar title fight is down to four drivers who are separated by just 17 points. Three of the four have nine Indycar championships between them. 2022 is one of the closest four driver battles with two races left that I remember. It is also a team battle, Team Penske vs. Chip Ganassi Racing.

The standings:

I have shown the top six because Alex Palou drives for Ganassi and Scott McLaughlin drives for Penske. They are both a bit too far out to have a realistic chance at the title unless all four ahead of them have some extremely bad luck the next two weekends. but they have a role to play. Palou and Mclaughlin need to help their teammates by taking points away from the competitors on the other team.

If either Palou or McLaughlin should win of the last two races- Palou won at Portland last year- it doesn’t necessarily hurt their team members.

Bonus Points

The three point difference between Power and Newgarden can be contributed to the bonus points Power earned at Gateway last weekend. The championship could come down to who scores the most bonus points at Portland and Laguna Seca. The season long bonus point standings”

Dixon 21 (5 races)

Power 18 (10 races)

Newgarden 18 (9 races)

Ericsson 12 (5 races)

Dixon’s total is skewed by the 12 points he earned for winning the pole at the Indianapolis 500. He would have just 10 bonus points if Indianapolis awarded the normal ingle point for pole.

Power and Dixon are the only two of this group who have earned maximum bonus points for a race.

Testing as Strategy

Most Indycar teams have one test day left, and the top two teams have each chosen a different track to map the final push.

Today, Team Penske tests at Portland. Ganassi tests Monday at L:aguna Seca. Ganassi tested at Portland last year and took the pole and the race win.

Ericsson Walking Fine Line Toward Title

Marcus Ericsson knows what he needs to do to secure his first NTT Indycar Series championship. His mplan is to maximize his position each weekend and not be so aggressive that he loses psotions.

“.I don’t have to be about the gamble. Like we don’t have to try to manage to do everything to win the race, we can do whatever and beaggressive in races, we don’t have any gambling. That’s sort of my my mindset, we need to go out there maximize that we don’t have to, we don’t have to throw away a P5 to have to win.”

Ericsson has scored more points than any other dribver in the series since Nashville last year. He doesn’t plan t change the way the team does things because they are fighting for the title.

” …a fine line because if you start to think too much about it and be clever about it, you’re gonna put yourself in a hole so like I said, we’ve had a good run for the last year and a half. I don’t want to change that the way we do things. I think it’s more like, like I said to my guys, we don’t have to, like, we don’t have to gamble for a bigger goal, right? Like if we were 80 points on the lead, and then you need to win races, you would say okay, like we need to win a race or to finish a championship. But we’re not the ones that has to take a big as to get there physically. So we need to have solid weekend and all the weekends that are leftbe running solidly up front and if we do that, we’re gonna be fine.”

It has been a while since Ericsson has contended for a championship. He is confident in his team and his strategists to help him.

“I haven’t been writing for a championship for quite a while, you know, I’ve got a bit of it last year, but we’re showing the hunter at the end of the season. But before then, you know, it was in my junior career. So it’s a bit a bit new for me, but I want to do things the same way I’ve done the last year I’m gonna keep doing and I I have extremely talented and good pit wall with you know, Brad and Michael Gary. They are so clever and like, you know, so good on strategy and all that. So I promised them and I do it together. And we’re going to try and maximize every weekend.”

On racing at Iowa Speedway:

“I’ve never raced in such a short track I was in my life. And so the track is, well, it’s pretty extreme unique. The first time so pretty shocked driving cars out there and the test in 2019. Like we actually raised on this place ever since I’ve just really enjoyed it. I’ve been racing it awesome. It’s one of the best tracks of the year that we can race on. So I’m really looking forward to it. I really enjoyed being a doubleheader. I think that’s gonna be super interesting. And also display there’s always so many things happening. So he’s like, you know, sSimon last time, he won last. I think that’s everything, you could have a good race car and you know, you hit it right with strategy, you can win from anywhere in this field. So it’s gonna be a really interesting race.”

Ericswson believes he still needs to win at least oine more race to win nthe championship. The series goes to Nashville, where whe won last season, in a couple of weeks. That race may be his best chance to win.

500 Wrap Up- Feels Like Old Times

Marcus Ericsson celebrates with car owner Chip Ganassi. Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Everything about yesterday’s 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 felt like a race day in the 1980s- the huge crowd, the electric tingling buzz in the atmosphere, even the way the race played out- had an 80s feel to it. Roger Penske and Doug Boles have worked hard to restore the glory of the 500 after two devastating years of the pandemic. The real proof of their success will be in seeing the momentum of 2022 continuing for the next several years.

The Speedway expected 300,000 fans. i think they had more than that. It was great to see the stands packed again. G stand, where I sit, was fuller than I’ve ever seen it, including in 2016. The infield crowd across the way was definitely larger than I ever recall.

The Race- Classic Style

This was not the best 500 I’ve ever seen, but it was far from the worst. It was darn good race, though. Most of the drama came in the pits where strong pre race favorites Alex Palou and Scott Dixon lost their chances at winning.

The race had a feel of a race in the 1980s, where a strong favorite would dominate only to drop out out of contention due to some misfortune. Yellows occurred at untimely moments, jumbling the field. One driver, usually a darkhorse like Marcus Ericsson, would emerge victorious.

The Lost Boys of Indy

Two teams that used to dominate Indy, Team Penske and Andretti Autosport, have been MIA the last two years. Yesterday Josef Newgardens’s 13th place finish was the best for the team. Both Newgarden and Will Power had issues in the pits. neither was a serious threat to win.

Alexander Rossi’s fifth place finish salvaged a miserable day for Andretti. Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco was the next best on the team with a 20th place result.


The four rookies with long term futures finished in a tight pack from 16th to 20th, with veteran Ed Carpenter in 19th. David Malukas ran a steady pace all day and ended 16th after starting 13th. Kyle Kirkwood arguably had the best drive of the day among the rookies, coming from 28th on the grid to come home 17th.

Christian Lungaard finished 18th. Crashes took out Jimmie Johnson, Callum Ilott, and Romain Grosjean.

Red Flag

I still maintain that the red flag was a horrible call and did nothing to enhance the finish. I will die on this hill. Fans are not entitled to a green flag finish. Some races just don’t have exciting finishes. This is not a video game.

The race ended under yellow anyway, so stopping the race was a moot point. If track safety structures weren’t compromised, there is no need for a red flag in that situation.

21st Century Mario?

Scott Dixon at driver introductions yesterday. Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Scott Dixon is becoming the new Mario Andretti. He has one Indianapolis 500 victory, which is a great accomplishment. He also has six Indycar titles and needs just one more win to tie Andretti for second place on the career win list.

Yesterday Dixon passed Al Unser for the most laps led in 500 history.

Like Mario, Dixon has had multiple chances to win a second 500 and has come up short. Similarly, he does not need to win a second 500 to seal his legacy. Dixon is one of the all time greats in Indycar racing no matter how many 500s he has won.

His role, however, is becoming clear as his window of opportunity narrows. Dixon will be an excellent ambassador for the sport when he retires as the mantle passes from Mario.