Marcus Ericsson led teammate Scott Dixon to the checkered flag in the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tenn. on Sunday (Aug. 8th). Ericsson led the final quarter of the race without error to secure the second win of his career, firmly placing himself in the championship discussion as IndyCar’s season approaches its final stages.
Colton Herta, who had dominated the majority of the race up to the three-quarter mark, put his Andretti Autosport Honda in the wall with five laps to go, ending his race and a challenge for victory. The resulting concerns regarding the turn 9 wall and tire barrier resulted in a brief red flag, with darkness looming.
Though the race’s final 20 laps provided some much needed green flag running, the race was dominated by cautions, with nine yellow flags and two red flags flying through the total 80 laps.
Most spectacular was – during an early restart – Ericsson climbing over the rear end of Sebastien Bourdais’ A.J. Foyt Racing machine, sending the Swedish driver airborne and destroying his front wing in the process. Bourdais was left to retire due to the resulting damage.
While Ericsson was penalized for the incident, the number of cautions throughout the race meant that Ericsson had ample time to work his way back to the front and challenge for the win.
“In IndyCar, anything can happen,” Ericcson exclaimed after the race. “You can never give up!” He went on to describe the comeback from early contact with Bourdais, then holding off both Herta and Dixon as “one of the best performances of [his] career.”
Others didn’t find themselves so lucky. Both Dalton Kellett and Scott McLaughlin found themselves involved in multiple caution-spawning incidents, including McLaughlin spinning from contact with his teammate Will Power on lap 41.
To further complicate things, water began leaking from the turn 3 tire barrier during the lap 41 caution period, which interfered with the direction of Oriol Servia’s safety car. This issue led to confusion regarding the lineup for the restart when Herta and Servia both passed pit exit at the same time. Herta was ultimately relegated to restart in fourth position.
Once Herta crashed out, James Hinchcliffe wound up in third position. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal rounded out the top-five finishes. Ed Jones was sixth, followed by Alex Palou, Felix Rosenqvist and Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden finished 10th.
The NTT IndyCar Series returns Saturday (Aug. 14) for the Harvest Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The race will be held as part of a larger doubleheader weekend with NASCAR’s Xfinity and Cup series. Television coverage will begin on NBCSN at 12:30 p.m. ET.
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Editor at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also leads the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at the BIED Society, an international think tank in Washington, D.C. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.