Marcus Ericsson of Sweden has won the Indianapolis 500 for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Ericsson took over Sunday’s race late and had it under control for Chip Ganassi Racing until a crash by teammate Jimmie Johnson with four laps to go caused a rare red flag stoppage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
IndyCar is one of the purest forms of motorsport and rarely gives artificial warnings or interruptions that could change the outcome. But a crowd of more than 300,000 people — just a few thousand for a sale and the biggest sporting event since the start of the pandemic — roared as IndyCar called the cars to the pits.
The stoppage gave Pato O’Ward and the rest of the challengers nearly 12 minutes in the pits to devise a strategy to take Ericsson for the win. The race resumed with two laps to go and Ericsson easily took the jump on O’Ward, but the Mexican got one last look at the lead Ericsson was defending.
A crash back into traffic brought caution to the fore and Ericsson kissed to the victory podium under yellow.
It is the fifth Indy 500 win for team owner Chip Ganassi, who took a ride to the podium from the side of Ericsson’s car. Ericsson is the second Swede to win the Indy 500 in 106 runs, alongside 1999 winner Kenny Brack.
He poured his pitcher of milk all over his face, then handed the bottle to Ganassi for the boss to take his own sip. Ganassi hadn’t won the 500 in 10 years and sent five legitimate contenders to Indy to end the drought.
O’Ward, who signed an extension with Arrow McLaren SP on Friday, finished second. The Mexican tried to put a banner on his country on the biggest day in motorsport; Sergio Perez opened Sunday with a win in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Tony Kanaan was third in a Ganassi car and followed by Felix Rosenqvist, another Swede, who finished fourth for McLaren.
American drivers Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly finished fifth and sixth, Rossi for Andretti Autosport and Daly for Ed Carpenter Racing.
Last year’s winner Helio Castroneves finished seventh and one spot ahead of Meyer Shank Racing teammate Simon Pagenaud. Reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou finished 10th in another Ganassi entry.
Honda drivers took six of the top nine places along with the win.