What IndyCar drivers said after Saturday’s race at Gateway

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A roundup of quotes and social media posts from NTT IndyCar Series drivers Saturday after the opener of the race weekend doubleheader at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, where Scott Dixon earned his 50th career victory:

1st – Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It’s awesome. I can’t thank the PNC Bank crew enough. Superb race all day. Sato was going to be strong at the end, but I didn’t realize how strong he was coming. We were kind of going into a reserve mode, looking after the engine, and he was there with a head of steam. Just so happy for this team. Last week at Indianapolis was a bit of a bummer. So, it was nice to get a win. Fifty – that sounds awesome. We’ve got to keep on truckin ’ and get a few more. But I can’t thank Honda and HPD enough. I’m proud to be powered by them and what they’ve done, especially this year, is just phenomenal, and how quick their cars have been. This is just awesome.”

2nd – Takuma Sato (No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda): “Obviously, the team did a fantastic job. From last week, we carried a lot of momentum. We lost some places at the beginning of the race. I wasn’t entirely comfortable in the car. But we were strong. Big congrats to Ganassi and (Scott) Dixon. Fantastic win. My ABeam  car was phenomenal. Yeah, it was a great job.” (If not for problem in pit lane, was this race yours to win?): “It sometimes happens in a race. I make a mistake; there’s a mechanical failure sometimes. That pit stop was frustrating, but everybody is on the same team. The boys did a great job two weeks in a row. I’m very proud of them.”

3rd – Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “I think we got some really solid points for the championship. We led quite a bit of the race, and in the end, I thought we had a clean, fast pit stop. My in and out laps were very strong, but (Scott) Dixon got us by a little bit. He’s a tough guy to beat. We had a very strong run, but I had nothing for Takuma (Sato) and Scott. I had to maintain where I was and salvage the podium from there. Tomorrow, we just have to work on the No. 5 Arrow  McLaren SP Chevrolet a little bit, and hopefully we can challenge for the win at the end.”

4th – Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda): “It was a fairly straightforward race for me, honestly. We didn’t have a lot of passing but a really good  strategy. I tried to make the fuel number, keep my distance and save the front tires. We made an incredibly good fuel number with the Capstone car. We went the longest on the first stint then was able to go that much longer on every stint after. We caught the yellow, and that kind of gave us our break. We had good in and out laps, so we got around Marcus (Ericsson) in pit stop cycles, and that was pretty much it. I don’t think I made a single pass on track. Strategy and knowing how to save fuel efficiently will be important for tomorrow, along with overall racecraft around this place and how to follow cars – so I think we have some takeaways from today.”

5th – Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Running that close to the podium, you want to be on that podium. The car is fast and I’m still learning. I thought it was a good day in general. We had a strong qualifying with my career-best qualifying result at P4. Then, we had a strong race. Obviously being that close to a podium was tempting, but still P5 is a good result for the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda. I think it was a good race and something we can build on for tomorrow.”

6th – Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet): “Stellar race! We were on our way to the podium, I think, but that yellow kind of screwed me. I kept my chin up and had a great car to make passes with. The No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet was great in the second lane when there were no marbles. I’ve learned luck really isn’t our thing, but we did the best we could with the circumstances. It did get a little sketchy on the last run; I almost lost it a few times. It was 200 laps of experience today and some good points. I’m very happy and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

7th – Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We started eighth and finished seventh, so it may not look like much, but we really hung in there all day. Coming out of practice yesterday, we didn’t get any actual runs due to a brake issue, so to qualify eighth today was all right for us, and we really soldiered through the race. We went backwards on one strategy call, and the next one — going fast in clean track – worked, so it was a bit of a see-saw there. It was a really solid  day in the pits by the 28 DHL guys. I’m proud of them as they put in a lot of work. With our only real run time being today’s race, we’re taking away everything we can from today, and hopefully Race 2 tomorrow is better.”

8th- Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was my best oval finish so far. We had a tough day yesterday. I thought we bounced back pretty well today. I’m a little disappointed because we had a better finish going, but then I screwed it up in one of the restarts. I got really loose in turn two and I was lucky that I got away with it because I was  really close to spinning there. There wasn’t much overtaking going on. The team had a great strategy. Every call was perfect. A P8 finish is definitely in the right direction.”

9th – Tony Kanaan (No. 14 Big Machine Vodka / AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Very good result for us. Best result for the team this year. Obviously, this place, I had a podium here last year. We have one more tomorrow. Awesome, awesome result. The guys had good pit stops. Thanks to Big Machine Vodka for the help and nice to see some fans in the stands, too. Emotional day for me — one more day, so I’ll see if I can sleep tonight. Good day for us.”

10th – Conor Daly (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I think we had a great car today in the race with the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. Qualifying was a bit confusing for us. We aren’t really sure  where our pace went, but once we got to the race, we were fantastic, strong and able to pass cars. The rain was a huge factor for us – no idea where that came from. We were making all the right strategy calls and decided to pit a little early to undercut Colton (Herta). When we came out of the pits, we ran the three fastest laps of the race at that point, and then unfortunately there was the yellow for the rain. It just absolutely killed our race, and from then on, we were really just trying to recover. We were able to still finish in the top 10, which is great for us, but I really think without the rain we could’ve been on the podium or at least in the top five since we were faster than Colton, who finished fourth. Thankfully, we know we have a fast car, and we get another chance tomorrow to do it again.”

11th Jack Harvey (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda):  “We were on track to have a really good day. We were running in either fourth or fifth for the first half of the race, and the car felt great; the guys had great stops. But when that yellow came out for rain, it really turned our race upside down. I’m still trying to wrap my head around why it was called since there wasn’t any rain that I saw on track. We’re doing everything we can to try and show up to races and be competitive. We know that we have a really good race car for tomorrow’s race, so we will focus on that and getting the result that we deserve.”

12th Josef Newgarden (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “That was a frustrating race for the Hitachi team. That caution came out totally at the wrong time, and we lost all of  our track position and everything we’d worked for up to that point. The team had great stops, and we gained some positions on each of our first two pit stops. I think without the caution, we would have cycled out in the right position and been up there in the top three and got to battle it out. Instead, the caution ruined our day, and we were just fighting from behind. The Hitachi car was good, and Chevy brought some great power. Just nothing you can do when the caution falls. This just makes me more hungry to go out there tomorrow and win the race.”

13th — Charlie Kimball (No. 4 Tresiba / AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):  “I feel pretty good about the race for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet. Went off strategy early, it paid off with the yellow for the little bit of rain, got some track position and was able to hold that track position. On that last stop, the 14 and the 4, we kind of split strategies, so it felt really good to see them come in the top 10. We didn’t quite get the top 10 that was there, but had the yellow fallen right, we’d have had a really good  result. Great strategy, great pit stops all day long. We’ll figure out how to make the car better overnight and do it again tomorrow.”

14th — Oliver Askew (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “A really rough start today. Everyone seemed to check up in front of me in the midfield and made some contact with the front wing. Luckily, the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet crew were able to replace the wing and keep me on the lead lap. Our race was compromised from the start, but we salvaged what we could. I’m looking forward to tomorrow with a better starting position.”

15th — Alex Palou (No. 55 Guaranteed Rate Honda): “The race didn’t start off like we wanted. I tried to avoid hitting the car in front of me as we were coming to take the green flag. They checked up in front of me, and I pulled out of line to avoid contact, but I still got penalized for pulling out of line before the green. Because of that, we got sent to the back and started last. From there, we just tried to make our way back up. We were a bit lucky with the yellow and made it back to the top 10. However, on the last restart, I lost some places. We tried to go long before our last pit stop , hoping that a caution would come out, but it didn’t go our way. Tomorrow we have another race, and the No. 55 Guaranteed Rate car is really strong, so I’m looking forward to it.”

16th — Santino Ferrucci (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “With limited practice yesterday, it took me the first stint to get used to the car. We went with a different fuel strategy, which with a late caution, played in our favor. It put us up to 10th. We had a killer restart and moved into fifth. We rode there and things were looking real promising until the final pit stop. We had a major mistake during the stop and ended up in the back of the field.”

17th — Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “That was not the race that Verizon, Chevrolet or my team deserved out there today. Our car was pretty good. It was really hard  to get close to guys and hard to pass when you got around them. A lot of us were just running the same speed. So, when it’s like that, it’s all about track position, and we lost ours with that caution. The race was over after that. Then we had a tire go down, and that was that. We just have to go back after it tomorrow at this point.”

18th — Graham Rahal (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “I’m clearly disappointed with the end result . I thought that after the start, when a lot of our competitors were involved in that crash, I thought that maybe we would have a good day and be able to put our heads down and work through things, but, instead, on Lap 29 we had GCU problems. Somehow a napkin got in there and lodged itself in the GCU cooling tube and overheated one and then overheated another. Unfortunately, it was just one of those days that we struggled with the chassis handling but also just had poor luck with sucking up a napkin. It’s certainly frustrating and disappointing, but there is always tomorrow.”

19th — Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “Definitely not fun out there. I just feel sorry for Chevy and for Menards. I think we had a good car today and never even got a chance to really test it for tomorrow. That was a little too much excitement for the start of the race at the back. The front of the pack slowed down; I don’t know if it was the accordion affect or whatever that was. We had to pull out of line, and  all of a sudden someone hit us from behind. It is what it is, but it’s very unfortunate. You aren’t going to win the race in the first corner. People just need to be more patient. We’ll be back tomorrow.”

20th — Ed Carpenter (No. 20 United States Air Force Chevrolet): “I am pretty bummed out. Second race in a row that I’ve been representing one of the Forces, the U.S. Air Force this weekend. I was basically out of the race before it started, also for the second race in a row. Zach Veach is the current theme right now. He obviously didn’t see the yellow flag or the bright yellow car spinning on the track.”

21st — Zach Veach (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda):  “The situation with (Simon) Pagenaud on the start, I think I had a better run than a lot of the guys in front of me, and I was faced with the decision to either hit Pagenaud head-on or get to the bottom. The bottom was moving, but unfortunately those guys got on the brakes at the same time I did. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the car stopped. I got to the (brake) pedal and I pumped it – by that time I was too close to stop the car and struggled to get the brakes engaged. I hate it for the people involved, and, obviously, it makes us look a little stupid. A big thank you to my Gainbridge  crew for fixing what they could so quickly and get us back out there for a shakedown. It’s frustrating. It looks bad, but I physically couldn’t have done anything else to slow the car down. For those that were involved, they understand, but from the outside, it doesn’t look as good as it is.”

22nd — Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda):  “I thought at least a top five was possible, and we didn’t even get to do 100 feet. There’s just no way around the disappointment. I was going in a straight line (coming to the green) and just got drilled. We just got hit. It sucks, really. Everything about this year has felt like a disaster, so we will see the rest of it goes. Fortunately, Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Colton (Herta) were on a similar kind of setup as to what I was on, and the race went OK for them, so we’ll take what we can from that for tomorrow. We still want to win races, and that’s what we are here for. It’s very frustrating for the NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation boys. But in the big scheme of things, there’s a lot bigger issues in the world right now in 2020, so this is relatively minor, but it still sucks.”

23rd — Marco Andretti No. 98 Oberto Specialty Meats / Circle K Honda): “Sad to see the day end before it began for us. I saw everything happening in front of me and had the car whoa’d up. I got the car stopped, and then (Zach) Veach got into the back of me. Just really disappointed  for the Oberto Circle K boys. They’re working hard tonight on repairs, and we will look for a better day tomorrow.”

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

Ganassi Ericsson Indy
Mike Levitt/LAT Images/BorgWarner
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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