June 12, 2022
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
THE MODERATOR: Second and third place have arrived, Marcus Ericsson finishing second, as well as Alexander Rossi finishing third. Marcus' third podium of the season, seventh career podium. Alexander Rossi, second straight podium finish after also finishing there last week at Belle Isle, third straight top five, 27th career podium.
Marcus, primarily the restart there at the end, being able to pass Rossi, how difficult, how satisfying?
MARCUS ERICSSON: Yeah, it was a really good race for us. We were strong all weekend. Already on Friday the car felt good. Had a good qualifying yesterday. Was my best qualifying of the year with P4.
I think the race was pretty straightforward. Pretty good from our side. Obviously a lot of cautions that got you out of rhythm. Yeah, car felt good.
Got some opportunities there in the end to try and get a better position. Alex had a bit of a slide out of the last corner so I got a run on him and managed to get by.
Overall good day. P2 is a really good result for the championship, back in the lead. Super happy. The team did a really good job on pit stop strategy, so really thankful to the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda Ganassi crew.
THE MODERATOR: 27-point lead over Will Power as you take the lead in the overall standings.
Alex, your thoughts on another podium finish for you?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, probably a little disappointing when you start on pole and can't convert. It was generally a good day I think. I think Josef had a little bit better pace than us. I think we were the second best car. Pretty aggressive on the restart there to try and do something. Just kind of overstepped a little bit. That's what allowed Marcus to get by.
Ultimately I don't know that we would have been able to win. Got held up with Scott McLaughlin a little bit coming into the pits when we were trying to leave on the first sequence. With the lap cars, Josef was the first to get to him. From there on it was trying to close the gap that got started there.
A little disappointing, but all in all I think it was a very positive weekend for us for obvious reasons A good run of races, look forward to going to Mid-Ohio.
THE MODERATOR: Almost two shots at Josef there. Can you talk about those.
ALEXANDER ROSSI: He went pretty early on the first one. I went with him on the second and actually got too close.
Yeah, he executed well. It was my mistake, which allowed Marcus to get by. You got to try in those situations to go for the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Marcus, Alex said basically tried to win going into turn five. What was that move like from your perspective? Talk us through that situation.
MARCUS ERICSSON: Yeah, from inside the car, the door was open there. I went for the move. Alongside him at the apex, made the corner. From my side he turns into me from the outside lane. You hate to see your teammate retire from a contact with you. That's the last thing you want to do.
I don't see I did anything wrong. It was a fully race move. Might have been early in the race, but this race is a track-position race. If you get an opportunity, you need to go for it.
As I said, there was nothing wrong with that move. That was clear on the TV pictures.
Q. Is this sweeter knowing that the championship leader had a bit of an issue early in the race as well?
MARCUS ERICSSON: Yeah, I haven't even looked. Obviously a lot of cautions and stuff. I knew you had to try to capitalize on that. We lost the lead last weekend, but it was nice to get that back and get P2.
Coming into the small break we have now with some good confidence. We're in a good position for the second half.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARCUS ERICSSON: Yeah, I would like to stop that (laughter).
I think, no, yesterday was the eighth different polesitter in eight races I think, if I'm correct. I think that says a lot about INDYCAR at the moment. It's the most competitive series in the world. We have 27 cars this weekend. I think that's incredible. Out of those 27 cars, it feels like at least 15 of them cars can win the race if they have their day.
It's really fun to be part of that. Yeah, I think it's going to be tough all year. Miss a little bit one weekend, you're P10 or P15. It means you need to be on top of things all the time.
Last weekend was a good example. A bit off on strategy, didn't work our way. We managed to finish seventh. That's the results we need to if we want to win the championship.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARCUS ERICSSON: Like I said, from inside the car it was clear. I was alongside him at the apex. I was surprised that we hit at the middle of the corner. Like I said, I made the corner, didn't go up on the curb. It was not like I was oversteering or anything like that. I was surprised to get the hit there.
I don't know what more to say. I only saw it once on the TV. It looked like a good move to me. Again, I hate to see my teammate retire from a contact with my car, but I don't feel that was on me. I feel like it was more on his side there.
Q. (Question regarding the issue in the pits with Scott McLoughlin.)
ALEXANDER ROSSI: I honestly don't remember. I think Brian was telling me to wait. There's nothing you can do about it. That's just an unfortunate sequence that happens. I think it certainly cost us the lead there.
That being said, I do think Josef had a really strong car today so I don't know necessarily that we would have been able to beat him. Maybe, I don't know.
But it's neither here nor there. That's just part of the way it works. Ultimately it's good to avoid contact and lose a little bit of time.
Q. Marcus, you're back in the points lead, up 25 over Will Power. You get two weeks off. How do you feel the rest of the points race is going to shape out for you?
MARCUS ERICSSON: It's going to be tough all the way. Like we talked about, it's so competitive in the series at the moment. Any given weekend can be a new winner. It's hard to be even in the top 10 if you don't get everything right.
I think it's going to be a tough season, a long season. We put ourselves in a really good position now, leading. So we just got to keep doing what we've been doing. The last 12 months we were the top scorer in the championship. I think that says something about where we've been performing since Detroit actually last year, it was actually 12 months ago today.
Yeah, I think we're in a strong position, but it's going to require a lot of hard work, keep doing what we've been doing.
Q. You're all teammates, but do you feel you're the lead Ganassi car at the moment?
MARCUS ERICSSON: I think we're all equal, to be honest. We have Scott Dixon, which is a legend, one of the best ever. Obviously Alex, Jimmie.
The cool thing with Ganassi is we all get treated the same way. (Indiscernible) enough to continue. Yeah, that's how I see it.
Q. Marcus, how beneficial is this result for you given you're back in the lead in the championship going into the break?
MARCUS ERICSSON: Yeah, it's very big. I think we had a decent day in Detroit, but obviously it's never nice to lose the lead. So that was one of the goals going to Road America, to regain that lead.
Obviously Will and Pato and Alex, I think all three of them had bad days. That's good for us, since they were the closest ones in the championship going in.
But, yeah, like we said, it's going to swing a couple more times. It's a matter of being consistent now, bringing home the results. Today P2 was definitely a very good result for us with the way the race played out.
Q. Alex, what went through your mind when you saw Josef in front of you after that pit stop? Do you think you had the pace to chase him down or you lost the race on that move?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: I think through the subsequent three stints we were catching him. The last stint we were coming pretty hard at him. It was going to be really hard to pass him, I think.
But, yes, I think that certainly cost us a lot of time, A, because we lost the lead but 'B' he was the first to hit the lap traffic. It's always a little bit easier for the first car to get through the lap car as you come up on them.
Ultimately, yeah. But again, I don't want to take anything away from the pace and performance that he had all day. Like, we were a little bit off on the balance to start, and it took us a little bit to get it back in the window. Then the pace was good.
But, yes, it didn't help. I don't know ultimately what the end result, if it would have been any different.
Q. Alex, is there anything that you or the team can do to get over that proverbial hump that you're kind of stuck behind the last few weeks?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: I don't know. Is there anything I'm stuck behind?
Q. Is there a hump.
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Sorry, it's breaking up.
THE MODERATOR: Are you over the hump?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Are we over the hump? Well, I am 30, so... I guess (laughter). It's not awesome.
Yeah, I mean, I think you get a little bit of confidence as results come. Yeah, I mean, I guess we're still looking for a win.
But, yeah, I mean, it's certainly been a lot different these past couple races than it has been for the races preceding that. That's a good thing.
There's still areas we can improve and need to be better. We'll certainly look at that and analyze that going into Mid-Ohio.
Q. Definitely have to be looking forward to the break until the beginning of July.
MARCUS ERICSSON: I want to go racing again (smiling). I love what we're doing. It's fun that it's been so hectic the last few weeks.
But I think for sure for all the crews and everyone, it's good to get a bit of a break here before the second half. Also personally it's been pretty full on since the 500 win a couple weeks ago, so it's definitely going to be good to sort of get a couple days off, recharge, then refocus again for the rest of the season.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and let you guys go. Congratulations. We'll see you at Mid-Ohio in just a few weeks' time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports