Just four laps into the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, Marcus Ericsson’s car launched airborne after running up on the car of Sebastien Bourdais and limped to the pits with a broken front wing. The accident caused Ericsson's car to stand on its rear before slamming to the road course beneath it violently.
“I won’t even go there, but if that’s his answer he needs to get a real freaking hard look at it,” Bourdais said. “It seems we always have that massive acceleration leading to starts and restarts, which if you’re not focused, you can get caught out real easy.
“That’s exactly what happened. We caught the tail of the pack, all of a sudden it goes first- and second-gear speed. Marcus just drove right over my car. Yes, I stopped because the cars were stopping in front of me.”
Seventy-six laps later, he drove the Chip Ganassi Racing Honda into victory lane as the winner of the Music City Grand Prix. It was a wild day for the NTT IndyCar Series race on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, with one of the most improbable race winner's in recent memory.
Ericsson beat CGR teammate Scott Dixon to the finish by 1.5596 seconds in a two-lap showdown after a red flag to earn his second victory of the season. Ericsson’s amazing drive to the front began after damaging the front wing of his car and being forced to serve a stop-and-go penalty for unavoidable contact with Bourdais.
“It’s unbelievable,” Ericsson said. “It just shows in IndyCar, anything can happen. You can never give up. If you have a good car and a good team, you still can win.”
Colton Herta had the dominate car of the day and weekend after taking the pole earlier on Saturday. After leading 39 laps, Herta slammed into the wall at turn 9 while trying to reel in eventual race winner Ericsson.
“I feel terrible,” Herta said. “We had the car all weekend to win, and man, I just threw it away, so I feel really bad. I’m OK, though. I know that I didn’t get my hands off the wheel, but they’re OK.
“Congrats to Marcus. He drove a hell of a race there at the end. I didn’t think he was going to make it, and he just kept pulling away from me. Good job to him. I just feel terrible for the team and for Gainbridge and Honda. It was terrible on my part. … I was just pushing to try to get ahead of him as soon as I could and overdid it.
“I had fun. Thanks to everybody for showing up. It was amazing even with the COVID restrictions the place sold out so quickly. Everyone did such a fantastic job putting on this race. I couldn’t be more proud of the city for showing up for it and everybody for watching at home for everybody sticking with us through all those yellows. Next weekend will be a lot cleaner hopefully, and I’ll get my redemption there.”
While the race was slowed with many cautions and a few red flags, overall the race seemed to be a massive success with great fan attendance. While some changes will be required for a return, many fans walked away ecstatic with the event and its surprise winner.
BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX RESULTS:
See it from Nate Ryan's Perspective:
Check out Paul Kelly's Nashville Race Report: