INDIANAPOLIS — Chip Ganassi Racing never expected to do all that well not only in Iowa last weekend, but here this weekend too. They’ve had just 1 career win on this IMS road course and after winning 2 of the first 3 races at Iowa, they’ve not won there since either.
Despite that, they still fare well in the points leaving this 3 race span.
Marcus Ericsson may have lost the points lead, but he’s still only 9 points out heading to a place he won at last year. This is the first time he’s not led the points since leaving here the last time on the road course.
“I think it was a good day for us,” Ericsson said after taking off his Indy 500 themed helmet. “Obviously it was damage limitation after what happened to us yesterday.”
However, when starting last and to come up to 11th, that’s a good day even with going off strategy early.
“A top 10 was our goal, we almost got there and I think we would without that yellow,” he said. “It was so badly timed for us after the long first stint on the blacks. We were in a really good spot for the rest of the race, and we had all the new reds so we could run shorter for the rest of the race.
“That yellow just neutralized the whole race. I think we could’ve been seventh or eighth without that. But P11 is still good from where we started.”
As far as does he change his approach after losing the points lead?
“It doesn’t really change to be honest. I would’ve liked to keep the lead, but we’re still close to Will and we go to Nashville where we won last year.
“We’re still in the mix, we still have a good shot to win this thing in Laguna.”
Scott Dixon qualified 20th and did Scott Dixon things on Saturday. He finished 8th for his 11th top 10 here in his last 12 tries. He qualified 16th in this race last year and finished 9th. He qualified 12th and 15th respectively in the 2 Harvest Grand Prix races here and was 9th and 8th in those races too.
He’s doing what he needs to do and only lost 4 points today in the process to score his series leading 12th top 10 finish in 13 races this year.
“With how close the competition is and how many times we’ve run on this track, we shouldn’t have had the fumble we did in qualifying because starting 20th makes it almost impossible,” said Dixon.
“But a good day for the team, it’s definitely a difficult track for us in general. But we’re still only 38 points back and a good string of tracks coming up for us.”
Even Alex Palou had a quiet day in 10th to stay alive in the championship fight. He’s 52 points out but has just 1 top 5 finish in his last 9 races now.
While the last 3 races weren’t ideal, they got them by as we now head to a street course to where these types of circuits have arguably been their best tracks.