Race Weekend Central

Marcus Armstrong Continues Solid Rookie Season with 8th-Place Finish at Detroit

Last week, Marcus Armstrong sat in the pit box and watched Takuma Sato pilot his No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing to a seventh-place finish in the Indianapolis 500.

Watching and learning seemed to have done the 22-year-old Kiwi some good, as he jumped back into the car Sunday (June 4) at the NTT IndyCar Series Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix and drove to a comfortable eighth-place finish.

The result matched his career-best finish earned on the streets of Long Beach, and Armstrong now has four top-12 finishes in his five career IndyCar starts. He was also the highest-finishing rookie on a street course that was new not just for Armstrong, but for the entire field.

After more than 20 years of racing at Belle Isle, the series moved downtown to a new course that incorporated some of the same streets used on IndyCar’s original Detroit layout. It proved to be a difficult, physical course that led to lots of carnage and broken racecars, but Armstrong, who compared the challenge to the street race in Nashville, said he was ready.

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“It was a very eventful day,” Armstrong told NBC Sports. “It was a race of survival and I think we did a decent job of that.”

With all of the action going on around him, Armstrong did what he usually does: keep the car out of danger, drive within himself, and take advantage of situations when they present themselves. While he only moved up three spots from his 11th-place starting position, he also may have brought back the cleanest car of anyone, and finished one spot ahead of his teammate Marcus Ericsson, who is currently second in the championship standings.

Armstrong, who is only scheduled to drive the road and street courses this season, has completed every lap of competition in his five races. And even without running the ovals at Texas Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he is still on top of the Rookie of the Year standings with 101 points.

Despite a solid day, Armstrong wanted more. While he is still learning and feeling things out, he’s a racer, and thought he had a car that was ready to race.

“I was a little frustrated because the car was so fast today,” Armstrong said. “We were capable of so much more (but) I think that’s a good sign for the future.”

Speaking of Armstrong’s future, it was reported by NBC Sports during the race that he is interested in driving the final three oval races this year – the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway in July and at WWT Raceway (Gateway) in August.

Armstrong will be back on track in two weeks when the series heads to the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.

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