Marcus Ericcson Breaks Through in Detroit

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Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Marcus Ericsson won today's IndyCar race at Detroit, pulling away to lead every lap after the final restart and take victory with little real challenge. But that is not the whole story.

It was not just Will Power's race to win. Power, who was on what turned out to be the strategy early and had the fuel to stay out after the caution for Felix Rosenqvist's terrifying wreck, effectively led the entirety of the race after that red flag was lifted. He had a gap on Marcus Ericsson, who was unable to pass him over the final 20 laps. Then Romain Grosjean hit the wall with six laps to go, and it seemed Power would be in position to win under yellow or lead a restart with one or two laps to go. IndyCar, not content with that result, threw a red flag to guarantee a restart.

Cars were left on the pit lane for ten minutes, and, when the yellow came back out, Power's car did not fire. A new starter did not help, and Power was pushed aside. When the red was thrown, he was still the heavy favorite to win. When the field resumed without him, his day was effectively over.

Ericsson inherited the lead, and his strong day became a winning day when the cars behind him fought amongst themselves on the restart. He was under no pressure for the final three laps, ensuring the five-year F1 driver his first victory in any category since the 2013 GP2 Series. The win came in his 37th career start and it marks just his second career podium in the series. His previous best, second, came at this track in his rookie season.

Rinus VeeKay and Patricio O'Ward rounded out the podium, two results that went from good to great when the vast majority of other championship contenders failed to finish in the top ten. Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon finished a respectable fifth and eighth, respectively, but every other driver in the top nine in standings finished tenth or worse.

There has been no exact diagnosis for Felix Rosenqvist, the driver in the harrowing crash that stopped the race for more than an hour, but the IndyCar medical group representative that spoke with the NBC team indicated that his team saw no signs of significant injury while evaluating him. With the most serious concerns seemingly alleviated, he was taken a nearby hospital for further evaluation.

The same field will go through the entire process of a race weekend at the same track again tomorrow. After a disappointing day for the vast majority of the field, it will be a contentious race.

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