For better or worse, the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee will be remembered vividly by everyone who witnessed it. Marcus Ericsson held on to take his second career IndyCar series win, after coming back from an airbourne crash just four laps into the race and a subsequent stop-and-go penalty.

The incident between Ericsson and Sébastien Bourdais sent Ericsson’s car three metres into the air, and knocked a livid Bourdais out of the race. Ericsson’s car only suffered a broken nose section. But after serving his penalty, he returned to the race without losing a lap. By lap 37, Ericsson – who started 17th – had found his way to the lead of the race, ahead of polesitter Colton Herta. This was after a lengthy red flag on lap 20 due to multiple cars piling up at turn eleven. Ericsson made his final “routine pit stop” on lap 46 during a long full-course caution, then assumed the lead again when Herta made his last stop on lap 49, after yet another yellow flag.

In total, there were nine full-course cautions which consumed 33 out of the scheduled 80 laps, and two red flags that pushed the chequered flag of the race perilously close to sunset. The second red flag came out with five laps to go, when Herta, running second behind Ericsson, went into the tricky turn nine too quickly and smashed the concrete barrier. Herta was able to climb from his car under his own power, but he was concerned about potential injury to his hand – and understandably, distraught after crashing out at the end of a weekend which he’d comprehensively dominated up until this point.

Clinching one of the most improbable victories in modern IndyCar history, Ericsson held off six-time national champion and teammate Scott Dixon in a two lap sprint to the finish to take his second IndyCar win in the last five races, making it a Chip Ganassi Racing 1-2 finish. Dixon the final 48 laps on a single set of primary compound tyres, after he pitted for fuel only on his last stop.

James Hinchcliffe finished in third, for his first podium finish since the 2019 round at Iowa Speedway, and his best finish of the season. Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan-Hunter Reay finished in fourth, with Graham Rahal completing the top five. Ed Jones moved up twenty places to finish a season-best sixth place, ahead of championship leader Álex Palou in seventh. Felix Rosenqvist, the returning Hélio Castroneves, and local hero Josef Newgarden completed the top ten.

Palou will enter next weekend’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a 42 point lead over Dixon, who overtook Patricio O’Ward for second in the standings. O’Ward finished 13th after an incident with Alexander Rossi, and a subsequent drive-through penalty for avoidable contact. O’Ward now trails Palou by 48 points, while Newgarden and Ericsson move to within 80 points of the top of the table.

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Race result

Position Car Driver Team Engine
1 8 Marcus Ericsson Ganassi Honda
2 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda
3 29 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Steinbrenner Honda
4 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Honda
5 15 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
6 18 Ed Jones Coyne/Vasser Honda
7 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
8 7 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren SP Chevrolet
9 6 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Honda
10 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
11 45 Santino Ferrucci RLL Honda
12 20 Conor Daly Carpenter Chevrolet
13 5 Patricio O’Ward McLaren SP Chevrolet
14 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
15 60 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Honda
16 51 Romain Grosjean Coyne/RWR Honda
17 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Honda
18 59 Max Chilton Carlin Chevrolet
19 26 Colton Herta Andretti Honda
20 52 Cody Ware Coyne/RWR Honda
21 22 Simon Pagenaud Penske Chevrolet
22 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
23 4 Dalton Kellett Foyt Chevrolet
24 21 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
25 30 Takuma Sato RLL Honda
26 48 Jimmie Johnson Ganassi Honda
27 14 Sebastien Bourdais Foyt Chevrolet

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