Ericsson Wins at St. Petersburg, CGR Seizes INDYCAR OpenerINDYCAR
- CGR: 124th overall victory in INDYCAR SERIES.
- CGR: 245th all-time victory in Chip Ganassi Racing history.
- Ericsson: 4th career INDYCAR win (3rd on street course).
- Ericsson: 4th defending Indianapolis 500 winner to return to ensuing season with a win in the season opener (2016: Montoya; Franchitti: 2011; Wheldon: 2006).
- Ericsson: Has recorded a win now across each of his 3 seasons with CGR.
- Dixon: 132nd career podium (2nd all-time in INDYCAR SERIES).
- Dixon: Ties Mario Andretti for the most top-5 finishes in INDYCAR SERIES history.
- Palou: 26th top-10 finish in his 34th career race with CGR (76%).
- Armstrong: P11 position was the best among all rookies in the field in his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut.
Race Results - Streets of St. Petersburg
P1 Marcus Ericsson - No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda
P3 Scott Dixon - No. 9 PNC Bank Honda
P8 Alex Palou - No. 10 The American Legion Honda
P11 Marcus Armstrong - No. 11 Ridgeline Lubicants Honda
The Streets of St. Petersburg season-opening race started in chaotic fashion, with seven cars making contact in a lap one pileup. The incident began with the No. 7 making contact with the left rear of Scott Dixon's No. 9 PNC Bank Honda, but all four Chip Ganassi Racing Hondas emerged in good standing from the incident.
On the restart, Marcus Armstrong was hit from behind by the No. 18, which was then forced to serve a drive-through penalty for making contact with the No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda. Armstrong was forced to pit because of a tire puncture from the contact.
Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou held their first stint until lap 29, when the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda pitted in P3 position and the No. 10 The American Legion Honda in P4. Dixon remained out and pitted as the leader on lap 36 under a yellow flag.
Palou pitted for the second time on lap 66 in P7 position to finish the race on primary blacks. Dixon came in right afterward on lap 67 in P4 position, adjusting to the black primary Firestones. Ericsson came in on lap 71, while Armstrong pitted on lap 74 after a fifth yellow flag came out after the No. 3 and No. 28 made contact in first and second position, respectively.
Ericsson and Dixon gained ground and advanced to P2-P3 positions on their final stint. Ericsson would continue to charge and passed the No. 5 on lap 97 of 100, advancing to take the checkered flag for his 4th career INDYCAR SERIES victory.
Ericsson: “It was our day. We had such a good weekend all the way through and we were hunting him down, putting the pressure on. I’m really proud of the Huski Chocolate team and Chip Ganassi Racing. That was a hell of a start to the season. We’re here to win. We won the 500 last year, but we were leading the championship for a long time and that’s our mission this year. This is a great start to the season.”
Dixon: "Definitely a wild race and glad everybody's okay. I think how the cautions fell played to us until the untimely one where we clearly would have got the lead and I think it would have been smooth sailing. Third place finish is fantastic here considering how the day was. Huge credit to the team and congrats to Marcus, they did a hell of a job. We'll take the points and move on to Texas."
Palou: "Race done here in St. Pete. It was a tough day for us. Very frustrating. We tried some different stuff on strategies but did a couple of mistakes and it cost us quite a lot. Finished P8. Won the race with Marcus and another podium with Scott so big day for the team. The car was fast so we just need to get together again get ready for Texas and we're in the fight. It's going to be a great season for sure."
Armstrong: "That was a good one considering what happened at the beginning when someone tried to do us and basically gave us a puncture. From then on it was always an uphill battle. The boys did a really good job, we had really good pace, and we got some decent points. First race under my belt, it was pretty crazy. There was a lot of crashing, a lot of chaos. Just trying to keep my nose clean after that initial hit with Malukas. It was a pleasure, the car was mega as you can see with Marcus and Scott. That will be us soon."
Source: Chip Ganassi Racing