Sweden’s Marcus Erickson won his first Indianapolis 500 in a wild race on Monday with multiple crashes and a heartbreaking error by race favorite Scott Dixon.
Ericsson, the former Formula 1 star, held back the late challenges of Pato O’Ward and Tony Canaan to taste the traditional winner’s milk in front of more than 300,000 fans.
Rinus VK, who started third in the grid on Monday (AEST), had his first and most spectacular accident when his car crashed into a wall while in second place and burst into flames.
Stan Sport is the only place to watch the 2022 INDYCAR Series where each race streaming ad is free, live and on demand. Start your free Stan Sport trial Here!
The Dutchman got out of his car at his own discretion and was later cleared by the medical team.
VeeKay later described the track as “a little dusty”.
“Sorry and disappointed, not just for me, but for the whole team,” VK said.
Read more: Huge calls to Fitler’s blues squad have been confirmed
Read more: Mid-season review to determine Maguire’s future
Read more: Giant young gun cancer diagnosis
New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin also had a horrific accident when he hit a wall in three turns.
The former supercar left Ace and said the only loss was “a wounded arrogance” as he ran in front of his family for the first time in 31 months.
It was a tough day for the Kiwis as a flying Dixon appeared on the road to victory before failing at its final pit stop slow enough.
“Are you serious?” Dixon yelled after a quick penalty that took him out of the debate to win.
Australian series leader Will Power is in 15th place.
But the day was for Ericsson, a 31-year-old who competed in Formula 1 between 2014-18 before moving to the United States.
Ericsson took control of the race late after teammate Dixon’s penalty – and it was Chip Gunsy Racing’s control until teammate Jimmy Johnson brought a rare red flag stop on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with four laps left.
IndyCar is one of the purest forms of motorsport and rarely has an artificial alert or stoppage problem that could change the outcome.
But crowds of more than 300,000 people – just a few thousand shy for sale and the biggest sporting event since the epidemic began – roar when Indica calls for cars to hit the road.
Stoppage O’Ward and the rest of the challengers gave Pete Road about 12 minutes to figure out how to catch Ericsson to win.
Race resumed with two laps left, and Ericsson easily jumped into the O’Ward.
The Mexicans got a final look for the lead that Ericsson defended and O’Word knew not to force the matter.
“No, if I go for it, he’s going to put me on the wall,” O’Word said.
A crash of Rishi Karam in traffic brings caution to the final lap and Ericsson reaches the stage of victory under the yellows.
Karam was taken to a hospital for assessment of muscle pain.
For Ericsson, it was Indicar’s third win in 52 of his career.
All three were weird wins that Ericsson gave the seal of victory after stopping the red flag, but he never assumed he had won the Indy 500 when he sat in his cockpit waiting to return to racing.
“You can never take anything for granted, and get there,” Erickson said.
“I was praying so hard that there wouldn’t be a yellow one, then I knew there was probably going to be one, and it was hard to focus again.”
But he did, and he holds on to the biggest win of his career.
Ericsson was undefeated in F1 for five seasons before moving to the United States and going to North American Open Wheel Racing.
This is the fifth Indy 500 win for team owner Chip Ganasi, who rode the victory stage next to Ericsson’s car.
Ericsson is the second Sweden to win the Indy 500 by 106 runs, joining 1999 winner Kenny Brack.
Erickson poured his milk jug all over his face, then handed the bottle to Gansi so the boss could eat his own swing.
Ganasi failed to win 500 in 10 years and sent five legitimate contestants to Indy to end the drought.
The victory seems to belong to Dixon, the six-time Indica champion who went over 376km / h to qualify for pole victory.
He has led 95 out of 200 laps and his Honda is easily the fastest on the field.
“It’s disappointing. The car was really good all day. I just made noise,” Dixon said.
This leaves Ericsson and Canaan still in the battle of Gansi.
Canaan, the 47-year-old oldest driver on the field, thought he was in perfect position to win, sitting fourth in the restart.
O’Word will not back down.
He signed a contract extension with Arrow McLaren SP on Saturday and desperately wanted the win.
But he finished second, after Sergio Perez won the Monaco Grand Prix as the Mexican fell short as his country tried to celebrate a banner on the biggest day in motorsports.
Canaan was third in a Gansi car, followed by another Swedish Felix Rosenkvist, who was fourth for McLaren.
Rosenkvist is fighting with McLaren in the year of his contract and for his job.
American drivers Alexander Rossi and Connor Daly are fifth and sixth, Rossi for Andretti Autosport and Daly for Ed Carpenter Racing.
Helio Castronves, last year’s winner, seventh and one place ahead of Mayor Shank Racing teammate Simon Pagenwood.
Reigning Indica champion Alex Palo finished 10th in another Guinness entry.
Dixon faded to 21st after a penalty, and although he did meet Ericsson on the victory stage, his wife comforted him on Pitt Road after the race.
Johnson finished 28th in his Indy 500 debut.
“It’s a team, everyone has roots for everyone else, everyone works together and everyone is an open book,” Gansi said.
“Something is going to happen to you in this 500 mile race and they will not always get in your way.
“So, you know, we were lucky to have five good cars and five good drivers.”
Honda drivers have occupied six of the top nine positions with the win.
“I felt like you could never allow anything, and obviously two laps had to go,” Erickson said.
“I was praying so hard that there would be no more yellow, but I knew there was going to be one.
“It was hard to refocus but I knew the car was amazing. But it was still hard, you know?
“I had to do everything there and then put them behind – I can’t believe it. I’m so happy.”
To get the best breaking news and daily dose of exclusive content from the Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter Click here!