What IndyCar drivers said after the Indy 500 Fast Friday practice

Chris Owens/IndyCar

INDIANAPOLIS — A roundup of quotes from NTT IndyCar Series drivers on Fast Friday after their third six and a half hour practice session for the 104th Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Marco Andretti turned the best Fast Friday lap in more than 24 years with a 233.491 mp pace around the 2.5-mile. Conor Daly was second at 232.337.

Graham Rahal drew the first position in the qualifying order Saturday with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Takuma Sato going second.

INDY 500 QUALIFYING PRIMER: How to watch Saturday and how it works

Drivers and teams will spend nearly six hours in time trials Saturday with the nine fastest drivers advancing to a Sunday session to run for the pole position.

Fernando Alonso (No. 66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “Today was a good day. I think after yesterday’s issue, the team did a very good job overnight and the car was ready in the morning. So, we maximized the number of laps we had available today and the number of sets. Because we saved some in the previous day so we had more today,  so it was a very good test day for us today and useful information. Let’s see tomorrow what the speed of the car is.”

Marco Andretti (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb  Honda): “Fast Friday was good, especially with the top speed of the day. We seem to be looking good on no-tow speeds, as well. Although I wanted to end the day runs better than we did, and we have a few things to work out. But we just need to nail tomorrow, and the No. 98 car has enough speed for the Fast Nine.”

Oliver Askew (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “I don’t think we were able to show our true pace today. We did most of our qualifying sims in the heat of the day, which isn’t ideal,  but we expect the conditions to be the same for tomorrow’s qualifying. Really depends on where we get in the random draw for where we go out tomorrow. That’s going to dictate a lot of everyone’s performance for their first run tomorrow in qualifying. I think we rolled out with a really good car this weekend. We haven’t really changed much,  so that shows all the hard work from the Arrow McLaren SP team is paying off so far. Looking forward to laying it all out tomorrow and showing everyone what we really have.”

Ed Carpenter (No. 20 United States Space Force Chevrolet):  “Today was not the day I was hoping for, to be honest. I felt really good yesterday in race setup and with our speed. The conditions were very tough today. I was hoping we were going to be able to contend for the pole in the U.S. Space Force car. I don’t know if that’s in the cars this year, but we’ll certainly give it our best shot. The good thing is Rinus (VeeKay) was fairly happy. Those guys were clearly the best in the ECR stable. He was completing more four-lap runs than I was and was a little quicker,  too, so we’ll lean on what they did. We’ll put out best foot forward. One thing I do know, conditions are going to be tough tomorrow. I saw a lot of people struggling today, and it’s definitely going to come down to the fourth lap. I’m going to rely on my experience and hopefully put us in a pretty good spot, knowing that we still do have a good racecar.”

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a very rough day today for the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevy. We definitely will continue looking at our teammates’ setups and continue work for tomorrow. We’re going to keep fighting, and we’ll see what happens.”

Max Chilton (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “It was another day of our speed not properly reflecting where we feel we are in terms of the time charts. The guys did a great job getting a new engine in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet late in the day yesterday,  and because of that we had to spend most of the morning, which was when the track was at its quickest, shaking the car down and working through our setup. Once it got so much hotter later in the afternoon, we just couldn’t get the car where we wanted it no matterwhat changes we made. We found a little more speed again at the end of the day and were able to close out the session on a decently high note, but just with all of the variables going against us we weren’t able to show the true speed of the car.”

Conor Daly (No. 47 United States Air Force Chevrolet): “Results-wise, today looks great. We’ve had a really consistent week up front in the top 10, which is nice. Today was a struggle,  though, for sure, especially in the afternoon. It’s tough to see where each engine manufacturer ended up and who had what in the chamber. We’re obviously going to work with our Chevrolet guys and give it the best shot we can. Hopefully, we can all put our heads together and come up with something great for tomorrow. We want to give the U.S. Air Force car a good run.”

Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I hope things keep going in this direction. It’s seems a little strange so far, but it’s hard to know which engine manufacturer is doing exactly what in these long practice days. I hope we have some more speed tomorrow with the Honda,  but it’s hard to really know what the other manufacturer is up to. I’m always proud to be powered by Honda and HPD and hope this is some indication that we have the upper hand on power this year. It’s always tough here at Indy, and the race is obviously where it counts. The PNC Bank car is good right now, and we’re trying to get some more balance,  so that’s kind of where we’re at. We were second or third most the day on the no-tow speed report for outright speed, so we hope that ends up holding true.”

Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “The No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda feels really good. We’ve had really strong and competitive runs today. It was a good feeling in the car. We’re top five for the no-tow speeds and P2 for a four-lap average, so that shows we have a good program at the moment. Our program makes us confident for qualifying tomorrow and Sunday.”

Santino Ferrucci (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “The car is not where we want it to be. The good news is we have another practice session tomorrow morning before qualifying. We will sit down tonight, go through all the data and see what we can come up with. I am confident we will find some things to improve the car, and the SealMaster team will have a good qualifying session.”

Jack Harvey (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda): “It’s kind of hard to tell where I think we stand ahead of qualifying tomorrow. I think we have the potential to do really good and make it into the Fast Nine. If we don’t, then I don’t think we will be very far off from that. The hope and the expectation is that we can get there, and I feel like we’ve got raw pace and obviously we just need to do it for four laps tomorrow.”

Colton Herta (No. 88 Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda): “It was an OK day. We’re not the best, but we seem to have decent speed. Really just want to figure out what we did best today and bring those into qualifying tomorrow so we can get into the Fast Nine.”

JR Hildebrand (No. 67 DRR Salesforce Chevrolet): “Conditions deteriorated as the day went on. But it’s the same for everyone,  and Saturday looks to be similar weather. Looks like Honda rolled out a pretty good unit for qualifying. I still feel really good about our race pace right now. I know Chevy will do everything they can overnight, but it looks like the Honda cars might have a bit of an edge right now. From our perspective, I feel very good about how the team has worked together. Sage (Karam) and I have been communicating well, too. We haven’t found the ‘sweet’ spot for qualifying , and we’ll try some things in the morning. It will be tough for everyone, and I will try to stick the best number I can when it’s my turn.”

James Hinchcliffe (No. 29 Genesys Honda): “Today was a solid day for the Genesys crew. Coming into today with the extra boost there were a lot of unknowns, but it was awesome to get out there and start knocking out 230’s from the first run. We ran through our program , and I think we made some good progress. It was definitely tricky out there with the higher speeds trying to hold on for four laps, so fingers crossed we can put in a solid run for qualifying tomorrow.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda): “The 28 DHL car was really hooked up this morning. Unfortunately, two different racetracks from a.m. and p.m . I think the car has speed in it, but just lacked a little bit of balance later in the day. Hopefully, we can get some front grip in it for tomorrow.”

Tony Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Difficult day. I was really hopeful that yesterday, since we had such a great day, that today with the increasing of boost we were going to be competitive,  and we struggled today. I think a lot of the teams did, too. I think the temperatures didn’t help, but we have a lot of work to do tonight. Still an awesome day to be at the track, still an awesome day to run 230 plus miles per hour. I mean, it had been a while that I haven’t done that so, we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting. We have a lot of work to do.”

Sage Karam (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “It was an up-and-down day for our team. We did a qual run in the beginning of the day,  and it went really well. We came back to the garage and waited for the track temperature to go up. We were trying to cover all of the bases if we had a later qualifying draw. We struggled in the heat a little bit in the afternoon. But, thankfully, we got a good draw for qualifying with our crew chief Pat Nelson picking the No. 11. Hopefully that can be transparent of our morning runs today. We’ll look at some things tonight but, overall, we had good runs with our setup. We learned a lot today. We’ll take what we learned and apply it to Saturday’s qualifying.”

Dalton Kellett (No. 41 K-Line USA / AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet): “Just finished up my first Fast Friday. I feel like I can finally breathe now. It was a long day of qualifying runs. Felt like we have a pretty good car in us for the four-lap average. We played around with various trim levels,  and we were working on mechanical balance, so I think we’ve got a good compromise between outright speed and also just having the car for the entire four laps. It’s my first time going into qualifying at Indy. With my previous experience in (Indy) Lights in the Road to Indy, it’s only two laps for qualifying so that four-lap run does feel like it takes a long time,  and you really have to work your tools, work your weight jacker during the run to stay ahead of whichever way the car is going. But the team’s been doing a good job, and we drew third for qualifying order tomorrow, so looking forward to getting on track early.”

Charlie Kimball (No. 4 Tresiba AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet): “Well, it’s Fast Friday, and that means we get to go fast. It was pretty challenging, I think, for everybody today. The track temps came up, the ambient temps came up, the wind picked up,  and when you’re hanging an Indy car out at over 230 miles per hour, it’s a handful.It can be around here especially, but the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet team here at A.J. Foyt Racing, I think, did a really good job to maximize the car we had. We had some pretty big challenges early in the day , but we made some big improvements and came out better at the end of the day, so as a team I think we have a little more confidence going into tomorrow.But tomorrow’s just the first battle. It’s next Sunday we’re really working toward.

Josef Newgarden (No. 1 Shell V-Power Nitro Team Penske Chevrolet): “Tricky day for us from an ultimate speed standpoint. I think we still have a good opportunity to show well tomorrow and fight to get in the last part of the Fast Nine.  I think a pole run will be tough for us, but we have to put ourselves as far forward as possible. Then we have to work in the race car, and I think we can make anything happen in the race. I have a lot of confidence in Team Chevy and all of our partners, including Shell. I think we’ve got what it takes to have a solid performance tomorrow, and like I said, put ourselves in good position for the race.”

Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet):  “Today was even more of step forward than yesterday for the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Today was all about qualifying running to get ready for tomorrow. The goal is obviously going to be to get into the Fast Nine. I think we have made some good changes, and we are very happy with where we are at to start the day off tomorrow in qualifying.”

Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “Tough day today. It was really hot and really slick out there. It’s not showing our real pace because we got on track late and the temperature was up. I think we have more pace than what we’re showing on the time chart. It certainly seems it’s not as strong in race pace. Obviously, it’s good to have a good car for Race D ay. That’s reassuring, but I’m going after pole position, so I want to be fast. So, I think we need to find some speed.”

Alex Palou (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda):  “It felt really good out there today. You wouldn’t think that it’s a big speed difference from yesterday, but it is. Once you get to Turn 1 and you’re going a lot faster and you have to turn the steering a lot more, it’s at that moment that you think, ‘Should I release the throttle a little bit?’ I said yesterday that the race car felt really good, so I was really comfortable to add power and go with the same setup, and it felt really good once again. We made some progress, as well. We did only three runs today. I think we’re among the drivers that did the least, but we had traffic and the temperatures were not the best. Overall, I’m confident heading into qualifying tomorrow. We ended each practice day in the top 10, so hopefully we can do that again tomorrow and be in the Fast Nine. I’m super, super happy with how everything has gone so far.”

Spencer Pigot (No. 45 Hy-Vee RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda): “We had a pretty good day and ended up fifth overall. I think we were around the top nine in the no-tow list. Overall, it was a solid day; we made some good gains in the Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh. Tomorrow is when it counts, so it was good to get a good draw of seventh. The earlier, the better. I’m looking forward to qualifying.”

Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Edge Team Penske Chevrolet):  “I think we found a better setup at the end, so I feel a little more comfortable going into the first run of qualifying in the Verizon 5G Edge Chevy. It’s going to be very tight. I really hope we can make it into the top nine, but there are so many fast cars. It will be difficult.”

Graham Rahal (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “It’s the end of day here at Indy on Fast Friday. I think we feel pretty good about where we stand. Our fastest no-tow lap is somewhere around 230.5 or 230.6 mph. Our four-lap average was the fourth- or third-fastest of everybody, but there is one really critical thing as we go into tomorrow, and it’s the draw. What time of day do you qualify? The key is, if you get an early draw and you’re a car that is right on that brink of making that top-nine or not, you’re going to be in. If you get a late draw and you’re a late car that’s on the brink, you’re not going to make it. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. I think we’ve got a good chance at advancing on and, my Lord, great job by Honda. The Hondas look strong today. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. We will try to get the United Rentals in the top nine and go into the shootout on Sunday.”

Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda):   “I felt like we rolled off pretty good starting the day. We had a little bit of understeer here and there, but the car mostly felt pretty good. We started pushing it a bit too much in the heat of the day, and I got a little bit loose at one point. We found the limit, but I wish we had a little more time to get back to working on the balance, but I think we know how to play it. I feel pretty good for qualifying tomorrow.”

Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Auto Nation Honda): “Fast Friday is always a tough day because you trim, and it was pretty hot today. It gets harder as the day goes on when you’re supposed to be making progress. It gets more challenging. I think we have a fast car and potential for the Fast Nine – if not a little bit more if we play our cards right. But, obviously, we have to get into the Fast Nine tomorrow, that’s the main objective. It’s pretty phenomenal the step Honda has made this year. We were disappointed leaving here last year as a group and they have gotten it done in a big way, at least in outright performance. We will go try and make good on that tomorrow and Sunday. Hopefully, it’ll put us in a pretty good position for the race because qualifying is going to be more important than it has been in years past.”

Takuma Sato (No. 30 Panasonic/PeopleReady Honda): “Fast Friday was good, very exciting. There was a lot of boost, a lot of speed and 230 mph for the average. With the Aeroscreen, obviously we lost downforce from last year. But we’re going faster, so it was very exciting. From my point of view and the team point of view, I think we made good progress. We’re not quite there yet. I’m a little worried about tomorrow in qualifying, but hopefully overnight we will find some speed, and the three of us will try to get in the top nine. Fingers crossed. It was a very productive day.”

Rinus VeeKay ( No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet):  “A good day! The SONAX car is doing pretty well in qualifying trim. Most of the best times were this morning, but we actually improved in the hottest part of the day when the track temp was over 130 degrees. I think that shows good speed. We seemed to be one of the most consistent cars out there. I also drew a good starting position. I was super nervous; I haven’t been that nervous in a long time! Qualifying number four. Tomorrow’s going to be different, you never know what’s going to happen. I know one thing, I’m going to have a good car. ECR’s known for that.”

‘Baby Borgs’ bring special Indy 500 bonds, memories for Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi

Ganassi Ericsson Indy
Mike Levitt/LAT Images/BorgWarner

THERMAL, Calif. – Winning the Indy 500 is a crowning achievement for driver and car owner, but for Chip Ganassi, last May’s victory by Marcus Ericsson had meaning even beyond just capturing one of the world’s greatest sporting events.

When Ganassi was 5 years old and growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his father, Floyd, attended a convention in Indianapolis in 1963. Floyd went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to tour the track and visit the former museum that used to stand next to the main gate on 16th and Georgetown.

Ganassi’s father brought young Chip a souvenir from the gift shop. It was an 8-millimeter film of the 1963 Indy 500, a race won by the legendary Parnelli Jones.

“I must have watched it about 1,000 times,” Ganassi recalled. “More importantly than that, something you did when you were 5 years old is still with you today.

“I was 50 years old when I celebrated my Thanksgiving with Parnelli. It dawned on me that something I did when I was 5 years old took me to when I was 50 years old. That’s pretty special.”

Ericsson and Ganassi were presented with their “Baby Borgs,” the mini-replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy, in a ceremony Feb. 2 at The Thermal Club (which played host to NTT IndyCar Series preseason testing). The win in the 106th Indy 500 marked the sixth time a Ganassi driver won the biggest race in the world.

Ganassi will turn 65 on May 24, just four days before the 107th Indianapolis 500 on May 28. The 2023 race will mark the 60th anniversary of the victory by Jones, who is now the oldest living winner of the Indianapolis 500 at 89.

Jones wanted to do something special for Ericsson and Ganassi, so each was given framed photos personally inscribed by Jones.

Parnelli Jones (Steve Shunck Photo For BorgWarner)

“Congratulations Marcus Ericsson and my good friend Chip Ganassi on winning the 2022 Indianapolis 500,” Jones said in remarks conveyed by BorgWarner publicist Steve Shunck. “There is no greater race in the whole world and winning it in 1963 was by far the biggest thrill in my life.”

Ganassi’s relationship with his racing hero began 60 years ago, but the two have shared some important moments since then.

It was Jones that signed off on Ganassi’s first Indianapolis 500 license in 1982. Jones was one of the veteran observers who worked with Ganassi and other rookie drivers that year to ensure they were capable of competing in the high-speed, high-risk Indianapolis 500.

When Ganassi turned 50, he got to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with Jones.

“We’ve been friends over the years,” Ganassi told NBC Sports. “He wrote me a personal note and sent me some personal photographs. It really says what this race is all about and how important it is to win the biggest auto race in the world.”

Michelle Collins, the director of global communications and marketing for BorgWarner, presented the “Baby Borgs,” first to Ganassi and then to Ericsson.

“More special is winning the Indianapolis 500,” Ganassi said during the presentation. “It’s been a big part of my life. I want to call out my buddy, Roger Penske, and thank him for the stewardship of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what it means to us. It’s about the history, the tradition and, to me, it’s about the people that have meant so much in my life.

“Thanks for the trophy, Marcus.”

Marcus Ericsson and Chip Ganassi hold their Baby Borgs while posing with the Borg-Warner Trophy (Bruce Martin).

The Baby Borg presentation also came on the birthday of sculptor William Behrends, who has crafted the Bas-relief sterling silver face of each winner on the Borg-Warner Trophy since 1990. The “Baby Borg” presents each winner with a miniature of one of the most famous trophies in sports.

“I have to thank BorgWarner for everything that has happened since winning the Indianapolis 500, including the trip to Sweden,” said Ericsson, who took a November victory lap in his native country. “I’m very thankful for that because it’s memories that are going to be with me for the rest of my life.

“To bring the Borg-Warner Trophy to my hometown, seeing all the people there on the city square on a dark day in the middle of November. It was filled with people and that was very special.

“I’m very proud and honored to be part of Chip Ganassi Racing. To win the Indianapolis 500 with that team is quite an honor. It’s a team effort and a lot of people worked very hard to make this happen.

“Our focus now is to go back-to-back at the Indy 500.”

If Ericsson is successful in becoming the first driver to win back-to-back Indy since Helio Castroneves in 2001-02, he can collect an additional $420,000 in the Borg-Warner Rollover Bonus. With Castroneves the last driver to collect, the bonus has grown to an astronomical amount over 21 years.

Ericsson is from Kumla, Sweden, so the $420,000 would have an exchange rate of $4,447,641.67 Swedish Kronor.

“It’s a nice thing to know I could get that if I do win it again,” Ericsson told NBC Sports. “But the Indianapolis 500 with its history as the biggest and greatest race in the world, it doesn’t matter with the money, with the points, with anything. Everyone is going to go out there and do everything to win that race.

“It’s great to know that, but I will race just as hard.”

Marcus Ericsson points at the newest face on the Borg-Warner Trophy (Mike Levitt/LAT Images/BorgWarner).

A popular slogan in racing is “Chip Likes Winners.” After winning the 106th Indy 500, Ganassi must really love Ericsson.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than that, does it? I’m very thankful to be driving for Chip,” Ericsson said. “He likes winners and winning the Indianapolis 500, it doesn’t get better than that.”

When Ericsson was presented with his Baby Borg, he stood off to the side and admired it the way a child looks at a special gift on Christmas morning. The wide-eyed amazement of his career-defining moment was easy to read and met with delight by executives of BorgWarner (an automotive and technology company that has sponsored the Borg-Warner Trophy since its 1935 debut).

“I noticed that immediately and I was watching him look at it wishing I had a camera to capture that,” Collins told NBC Sports. “But maybe not because we always have our phones in front of us and it’s nice to take in that moment as it is. That is what makes the moment well worth it.”

Marcus Ericsson (Bruce Martin)

Said BorgWarner executive vice president and chief strategic officer Paul Farrell: “It’s very special to have the big trophy that has been around since 1935 and to have a piece of that. Hopefully it’s something that (Ericsson) cherishes. We think it’s special, and clearly, Marcus Ericsson thinks it is very special.”

The trophy process begins shortly after the race as the winner has the famed Borg-Warner Wreath placed around his neck, and the Borg-Warner Trophy is put on the engine cover. The next morning, the winner meets with Behrends, who has been sculpting the faces on the trophy since Arie Luyendyk’s first victory in 1990. Later in the year, the winner visits Behrends’ studio in Tryon, North Carolina, for a “Live Study.”

The process takes several more steps before the face is reduced to the size of an egg and casted in sterling silver. It is attached to the permanent Borg-Warner Trophy and unveiled at a ceremony later in the year. Ericsson’s face was unveiled last October during a ceremony in Indianapolis.

That’s when it hit Ericsson, a three-time winner in IndyCar after going winless in Formula One over 97 starts from 2014-18.

“Until then, it was strange because you are so busy with your season right after the Indy 500 you don’t really get much time to sit back and think about what you had accomplished,” Ericsson said. “It was the offseason before I really realized what I had done.”

The permanent trophy remains on display at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but has been known to travel with the winning driver on special tours, such as the Nov. 3-7 trip to Sweden.

“It’s been incredible to see the amount of interest in me and the IndyCar Series and the Indy 500,” Ericsson said. “The trophy tour with the Borg-Warner Trophy we did in November really made a huge impact in Sweden. I was on every TV show, morning TV, magazines, newspapers, everywhere. People are talking about IndyCar racing. People are talking about Marcus Ericsson. It’s been huge.

“I was back in Sweden last month for the Swedish Sports Awards and I finished third in the Sports Performance of the Year. Motorsports is usually not even nominated there, and I finished third. That says a lot about the interest and support I’ve gotten back home in Sweden.”

Ericsson continued to reap the rewards of his Indianapolis 500 victory last week at the lavish Thermal Club, about a 45-minute drive from Palm Springs, California.

Earlier in the day before the Baby Borg presentation, Ericsson, and Chip Ganassi were among the 27 car-driver combinations that completed the first day of IndyCar’s “Spring Training” on the 17-turn, 3.067-mile road course. The next day, Ericsson turned the test’s fastest lap.

The 32-year-old still seems to be riding the wave, along with his girlfriend, Iris Tritsaris Jondahl, a Greece native who also lived in Sweden and now lives with Ericsson in Indianapolis.

“Today, receiving my Baby Borg, it was another thing of making it real,” Ericsson said. “It’s not a dream. It’s reality. To get the Baby Borg and bring it home. My girlfriend, Iris, and I are house hunting, looking for a house in Indianapolis. It will definitely have a very special place in our new home.”

Marcus Ericsson and girlfriend Iris Tritsaris Jondahlc share a kiss at the Baby Borg presentation (Mike Levitt/LAT Images/BorgWarner).

Ericsson told NBC Sports his most cherished trophy before getting his Baby Borg was for his first NTT IndyCar Series win in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in 2021.

“It was such a huge win for me and such a huge breakthrough for me and my career,” he said. “After that, it catapulted me into a top driver in IndyCar.”

The Brickyard win was another level for Ericsson, who moved to Ganassi in 2020.

“Marcus kept himself in the race all day,” Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull told NBC Sports. “Anybody that ran a race like Marcus ran, maybe you deserve the race win, but you don’t always get it. Marcus did everything that it took, and we are really, really proud of him.”

Ericsson also proved last year to be one of the best oval drivers in the series, a much different form of racing than he experienced until he came to the United States.

“Racing in Europe and around the world, I always liked high-speed corners,” he explained. “It was always my favorite. I always had this idea if I go to IndyCar and race on the ovals, it is something that would suit me and my driving style. I was always excited to try that. When I came to IndyCar and started to drive on ovals, I liked it straight away. It worked for me and my style.

“The first few attempts at Indy, I had good speed, but it was always some small mistakes that got me out of contention. I learned from them. I’m very proud I was able to pull it off, but it was a lot of hard work behind that.”

Michelle Collins of BorgWarner presented Baby Borgs to Marcus Ericsson and Chip Ganassi at a ceremony also attended by Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull (Mike Levitt/LAT Images/BorgWarner).

The victory in the Indianapolis 500 is etched in history, as is Ericsson’s face on the trophy.

“It’s such a special thing,” the driver said. “The BorgWarner people and IndyCar and everyone at IMS, I get to experience so many cool things since winning the Indy 500. It’s a win that keeps on giving. It never ends. It still does.

“I can’t wait to get back to Indianapolis, the month of May, as the champion. I still have to pinch myself. It’s a dream, for sure.”

Ganassi doesn’t have to pinch himself — all he needs to do is look at his collection of Baby Borgs.

His first Indy 500 win — as a team co-owner with Pat Patrick — came in 1989 with Emerson Fittipaldi’s thrilling duel against Al Unser Jr.

In 1990, Ganassi formed Chip Ganassi Racing. Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, Scott Dixon in 2008, Dario Franchitti in 2010 and 2012 and Ericsson in 2022.

“It’s a feather in the team’s cap for sure just to have our representation on the Borg-Warner Trophy with five other drivers,” Ganassi said. “It’s a testament to the team, a testament to Mike Hull that runs the team in Indianapolis. I just feel really lucky to be a part of it. It’s great to work with a great team of great people.

“Just to relive that moment again and again never gets old; never goes away. I’m really lucky to be in the position I’m in. It’s an honor to represent the team with the great people that it took to bring Marcus across the finish line. He and I get to celebrate events like this, but it’s really about the people at Chip Ganassi Racing in Indianapolis that pull this all together.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500