How Marcus Ericsson built a 27-point lead after Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – If Marcus Ericsson wins the Astor Cup come mid-September, he may very well have the just-ended seven-week stretch to thank. As other IndyCar Series contenders have struggled in multiple races since the start of May, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has been the beacon of top-level consistency.

And after a Detroit Grand Prix that surprisingly stayed green for 69 of the 70 laps, where each member of the top-6 in points finished no worse than 7th, Sunday’s Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America gave a hefty shakeup to this year’s championship race. Thanks to a bump off-track from a series rookie (Will Power), contact with a teammate (Alex Palou) and an electrical failure (Pato O’Ward), three of the top 4 in points entering the 55-lap affair on the 4-mile road course finished 19th, 27th and 26th, respectively.

Crews work on detaching the front spoiler on the Will Power (12) that was damaged on turn 5 during the Sonsio Grand Prix IndyCar race, Sunday, June 12, 2022, at Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wis.

And a championship advantage that was no larger than 15 points for anyone since Long Beach – the lead changed hands after each of those six races – has grown to 27. Ericsson takes that edge on 2nd-place Power into a two-week break before Mid-Ohio.

“I think it’s going to be a tough season, a long season, but we’ve put ourselves in a really good position now leading,” Ericsson said Sunday after passing pole-sitter Alexander Rossi to finish 2nd. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing. I think we’re in a strong position, but it’s going to require a lot of hard work to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Josef Newgarden (2) accelerates his IndyCar out of turn 5 during the Sonsio Grand Prix, Sunday, June 12, 2022, at Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wis.

With the Indianapolis 500 counting double points, IndyCar has effectively reached the halfway point of the 17-race calendar, and it’s notable that the only driver to win multiple races (in this case, three) doesn’t have  a stranglehold on the title race.

Josef Newgarden said as much after Sunday’s win, his third.

“I think 10 years ago, you were used to these consistent trends. When a team would find a performance edge, they would typically carry that edge across the entire year,” Newgarden said. “Whereas now, I think people find these little edges on each other every weekend, and it’s going up and down all the time.”

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