Ericsson confident in backing up Indy 500 win with another on Sunday, why he doesn’t want winner experience to stop

INDIANAPOLIS — Life is good for NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Marcus Ericsson. A wedding ring is donned on his left hand as he just recently tied the knot last month. An Indianapolis 500 champions ring is on his right. His image is found all over town as the defending Indy 500 champion. While Ericsson has been back to the circle city multiple times since that fateful day last May, this is the first time he’s been back in the Month of May.

The annual summer trip is a shared weekend with NASCAR. The open test in the spring is just that, a test. When the calendar turns to May and the gates are swung open on the westside of town, this place, this town, comes alive.

No matter which direction you drive into the track from, you’re more than likely to see Ericsson’s face on a billboard. Going to the race next weekend? You’ll see Ericsson’s milk splashed face on the ticket. You can’t avoid it and it’s something that Ericsson loves the feeling inside of.

“It feels amazing to be back here and be the defending winner,” Ericsson told me. “It’s definitely a very special feeling. Driving in through the gates there, see the big banner, all those things, it’s very, very special.

“Just going to try to enjoy this month as much as possible, then really, yeah, just take in everything it gives me. Very excited to be here. Even before winning, it’s always so special to be in Indianapolis and at this place with all the history that goes into this.

“To be here as defending winner is extremely special.”

That’s something that he doesn’t want to give up. Multiple drivers that have won here recently have told me that once they’ve won, they don’t want to experience life anymore without it. It’s a jealously feeling if someone else is doing it.

An Indy winner is celebrated for 364 days after. From media appearances, to taking the Borg Warner Trophy to their native country, to first pitches at baseball games to every door that you never thought that you’d get to go through, being an Indy 500 champion for the next year changes your life.

If you don’t win the race 365 days later, well all that pomp and circumstance is gone and you have to wait 365 more days to get it back.

“Yeah, yeah, I can sort of see what they mean with that,” Ericsson told me. “I think it’s so cool. And you know, the thing with winning this race is that you celebrate for 12 months. It’s like so many cool things that you get to experience and do and that’s why you know, it’s a race that keeps on giving.

“So it’s definitely been an amazing 12 months for me and I would like to keep doing it for another 12 months.”

Marcus Ericsson practices at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

He said that some of his favorites things about the Indy 500 winners tour over the last year was throwing at the first pitch at a Yankees game. Going to the Kentucky Derby. Going to a Rangers game in Madison Square Garden. All were memorable.

The most memorable however was going back to Sweden and warm reception that he received in his hometown on a cold November day.

“I was so thankful for IndyCar and BorgWarner to make that happen and to bring the trophy to my home country and my hometown and be able to celebrate with you know, friends and family and fans back home. That was just so special. So that was definitely the highlight for me,” he said.

Ericsson enters the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (May 28) third in points. He’s had a top 10 finish in literally every race run this year including P8 in the GMR Grand Prix two weeks ago.

“I do believe in that,” Ericsson said on if he believes in momentum. “And I think you know, it’s not by coincidence that people that’s been like strong leading up to a 500 usually have a good race. You know, I finished fourth last year on the on the road course and went on to winning. And I think there’s something about momentum.

“I think I’ve had a really strong start to the year you know. So hopefully that momentum we’ve got from the start of the year is going to help us these next few weeks.”

Ericsson says that he feels his chances this year are as high as they were a year ago. He feels good about starting 10th on Sunday.

“I think last year we were super good all practice, the whole week as well,” said Ericsson. “I think we are as good this year for sure.

“I think the team has done a really good job of trying to improve the package that we already had last year very strong. I definitely feel we’re in a very, very good spot.

“We feel strong. We feel better than last year, and last year we were pretty good.

“We feel better. We worked hard in the winter already to improve on a strong package. Testing is testing, it’s hard to make conclusions. But of course we feel we’re going to be fighting up front. From what we’ve seen so far, we should be up there.

“We don’t want to underestimate our competition because there’s a lot of good teams that work really hard to improve. We can’t underestimate that challenge going into this weekend and the next one.

“It’ll be tough. Yeah, it’s a it’s a very tough race to win and to go back to back he’s obviously been very few times in the history that people have been able to do that. I do feel we have a good chance though. Because we have a really good car again this year. The team is working well. Very well together have strong teammates. We put ourselves in a good position with detail on the grid. So I feel like we have a really good shot at it and I’m feeling confident we can do it.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s