MADISON, Ill — Marcus Ericsson had to be elated when he found out his first qualifying lap around the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway on Friday afternoon. 181.901 mph said the dash. That was good enough for P1. The 2nd lap?
182.239 mph. That time stood quickest among 25 qualifiers. There would be 1 driver left….Will Power. Heading into this weekend, Power had 66 career NTT INDYCAR Series poles. That was 1 shy of tying the all-time pole record.
That’s why Ericsson was happy but knew that the pole was likely going to be topped in the next 2 minutes.
“I thought my run was really good, so I thought I had a shot,” said Ericsson. “If there’s one guy you don’t want to go after you when you’re standing on provisional pole, it’s definitely Will Power.
“Either way, I’m really happy we’re on the front row, the car felt so good. The team did a really good effort today to give me such a qualifying car.”
For Ericsson, he’s a quietly good qualifier around the 1.25-mile track. This was his 4th straight top 7 qualifying effort here including being 6th last year. To be starting on the front row against a driver that is 0-for-3 in terms of race wins while starting on the pole here as well as 0-for-3 this season when coming from the top starting spot, he has to be feeling fortunate.
5 of the last 7 race winners on the season started 2nd, the same spot Ericsson rolls off from.
“Now going down to the last three, I think I’ll do everything I possibly can to try and win this championship,” he says as he enters 12 points behind Power for the lead.
“I knew today in qualifying it was really important because of the way this track races. It’s not always easy to overtake. I was very focused going in.
“Yeah, I try and do like I’ve done all year and not change things up.”
Ericsson says that qualifying on ovals is special. There’s no margin for error not just here, but on all of them on the schedule.
“It is quite special to do it. It’s a lot of adrenaline that runs through your body.
“It’s pretty unique, but I really enjoy it. I think it’s really fun.”
He hopes to have a lot of fun on Saturday’s 260 lap race and maybe reinherit the points lead as a result.