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IndyCar Indy 500

Ericsson says final-lap Indy 500 restart was “unfair and dangerous”

Indianapolis 500 runner-up Marcus Ericsson believes the decision to restart the race for a final one-lap shootout straight from the pits was “unfair and dangerous”.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ericsson was beaten to victory by Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden by 0.0974s after leading him to the green flag for a green-white-checkered finish.

Although Ericsson held the lead through Turn 1 and 2, Newgarden got a run to pass him on the backstretch into Turn 3, which proved to be the decisive move.

But Ericsson didn’t think the race should’ve been restarted with no time for a full warmup lap.

“It was an unfair and dangerous end to the race,” said Ericsson. “We’ve never done a restart straight out of the pits. We don’t get the tires up to temperature.

“I think it was a tough way to end the race, I don’t really agree with how they did that.

“I don’t think there was enough laps left to do what we did, I don’t think it’s safe to go out of the pits on cold tires for a restart when half the field is trying to get out on track as we come to green, I don’t think that’s a fair or right way to end a race. I don’t agree with it.

“I think I did an awesome last restart and caught Josef completely off guard and by surprise, kept the lead into one, but I just couldn’t hold it after that – it wasn’t enough so it’s hard to swallow.”

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Ericsson, who led for 30 laps in his bid to score back-to-back Indy 500 wins, thinks there was nothing else he could have done differently – having grabbed the lead from Newgarden just before the final red flag for a multi-car crash.

“I feel disappointed because I thought we did everything right,” he said. “I think we did an awesome race, I had a great car and race strategy and pitstops, some good restarts

“I tried to catch Josef by surprise going early and it worked. After he passed me, I tried to get a run back on him, but it wasn’t enough unfortunately. He did his job well.”

Ericsson also said it was tough to bring the field to the green without the risk of being passed immediately.

He added: “The cars, with the aero spec we had this month, it’s really hard to lead so I think previously it was a little bit easier.

“I knew for that last restart it would be almost impossible to keep the lead. I tried to get a jump, and didn’t get overtaken into Turn 1, but it wasn’t enough.”

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