2022 Indianapolis 500 results: Marcus Ericsson fights off late charge to win Indy 500 under dramatic caution
Pato O'Ward put together a thrilling late challenge in a two-lap shootout at the end of the race
Scott Dixon started the 106th Indianapolis 500 in dominating fashion for Chip Ganassi Racing, but it was Marcus Ericsson who finished it that way, pulling away from a charging Arrow McLaren SP car driven by Pato O'Ward over the final two laps to win a two-lap shootout at the famed Brickyard.
It was a fifth Indy 500 win for Chip Ganassi's team -- CGR's first since 2012 -- and it closes the month of May for them as they had started it -- atop the leaderboard.
Ericsson was wearing a helmet painted in honor of his late countryman and F1 legend, Ronnie Peterson, who was known as the "Super Swede." People around the IndyCar paddock and elsewhere have taken to calling Ericsson by another moniker: the "Sneaky Swede." In his two previous wins on the IndyCar circuit -- Belle Isle at Detroit and Nashville, both in 2021 -- the 31-year old seemingly came out of nowhere to win. He didn't come out of nowhere at Indy, having started fifth. He also managed to avoid trouble and always seemed to be in the top five somewhere.
That likely would have been where he finished if not for a late gaffe by his teammate, Dixon. The Kiwi had been dominating from the start, sharing the lead with CGR teammate Alex Palou in the first half of the race as the strategy was for them to try to save fuel by letting one lead and the other draft, then switching that order up after a few laps or so as it became apparent that the Honda engined powering the CGR cars were not getting the same fuel efficiency as the Chevrolet-powered cars of Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.
The CGR bad luck first struck Palou, who was about to make his second green flag pit stop when Callum Ilott struck the wall and brought out a caution. Not only was the Spaniard stuck out on the track, he was so down on fuel that he had to make a stop just to take a splash while the pits were still closed, which brought on a penalty. His race was effectively over.
At 24 laps remaining, Dixon pulled in for his final pit stop and made his only mistake on the day: He was going too fast. He locked his wheels up, causing a puff of smoke, but it was too late and race control signaled his team that Dixon had exceeded the speed limit down pit lane and would have to come around and serve a stop-and-go penalty after re-entering the track.
"I came into the pit and had to lock the rears and kind of locked all four," said Dixon told IndyCar.com afterward. "I think it was a mile-an-hour over or something. Just frustrating. I just messed up."
That little bit of bad luck for CGR looked to be exactly the break Arrow McLaren SP needed, as through that final set of stops O'Ward had cycled to the front and was now just behind Ericsson, who had pitted just a few laps earlier. The laps clicked off one by one, and it looked like Ericsson was going to easily drive away from O'Ward when yet another caution came out just inside of 10 laps to go when Jimmie Johnson, in the fifth CGR car, struck the wall hard.
"I couldn't believe it," Ericsson said later in Victory Lane. "I was praying so hard there wasn't going to be another yellow."
With the race nearing the finish, race control decided not only to throw a yellow but also a red, and Ericsson led the field into pit lane with his huge lead gone.
When they emerged, it was once around to warm up the tires, another time around to come up to speed and then a two-lap shootout to the checkered flag.
"It was hard to refocus," said Ericsson, whose mirrors were full of not only O'Ward's car but Tony Kanaan's and Felix Rosenqvist's as well.
O'Ward tried the outside line but he just didn't quite have enough to get past. Through Turn 2 and to the back straight, O'Ward backed off just a bit and Ericsson powered away, with Kanaan and Rosenqvist behind, and the field was locked in those spots when Sage Karam caromed off the wall exiting Turn 2 to bring out the final caution.
"He [Ericsson] was going to put me in the wall if I would have gone for it," O'Ward said. "I'm so proud, but it [finishing second] definitely stinks."
Ericsson was leading the pack out of Turn 4 when the yellow flag waved, and was finally able to exhale as he roared across the start/finish line to become the second Swede to win the Indianapolis 500 after Kenny Brack (1999).
"I had to do everything there at the end to keep him behind," Ericsson said after drinking the traditional milk awarded the winner at the race's end. "I can't believe it. I'm so happy."
2022 Indy 500 top 10
- Marcus Ericsson
- Pato O'Ward
- Tony Kanaan
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Alexander Rossi
- Conor Daly
- Helio Castroneves
- Simon Pagenaud
- Alex Palou
- Santino Ferrucci
O'Ward tries to go outside, but he can't make it hold as Ericsson holds on and stretches out his lead.
Ericsson is steaming along through Turn 4 as a yellow comes out when Sage Karam caroms exiting Turn 2.
The field is locked and Marcus Ericsson is your winner, followed by Pato O'Ward and Tony Kanaan.
Ericsson starts to edge away but O'Ward is closing. Kanaan holds Rosenqvist behind him.
ONE LAP TO GO.
Green-green-green and the front of the field split wide, all of them trying to get around leader Ericsson with two laps to go.
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