Make your home page

IndyCar drivers shift gears back to series championship

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis 500 might be over, but the race for the IndyCar Series championship is just heating up.

“I think the fire to win the championship is burning stronger than ever for me,” Indy 500 runner-up Marcus Ericsson said.

The calendar has turned, and so have the driver’s attentions, away from the Indy 500, and onto Detroit and the race for the series championship. The Motor City’s race will be different this year, returning to downtown for the first time in over 30 years.

“The fan turnout at Belle Isle was always fantastic. Moving it properly into downtown is going to be amazing,” Alexander Rossi said. “Certainly new races are exciting for us. It levels the playing field. Everyone starts from scratch, essentially. Last time was Nashville, which was actually fairly recently, but before that, I don’t think we’ve ever been to a track that no driver had been to before, so I’m very excited.”

“I think it will be spectacular. We’re back in downtown Detroit, which I’ll miss Belle Isle, but I’m sure this one will be as cool,” Rossi’s Arrow McLaren teammate Pato O’Ward said. “Just looking forward to a new circuit. I’m curious to see that double pit lane, which we’ve never had. I think they’ll be some very good challenges, and we’re ready.”

Detroit will be a major change from the IMS oval, but just as important to win in the fight for the series championship. A mere 37 points separate the top four drivers. A win in Detroit is a 51-point boost, which could mean another standings shakeup.

“What we want is the championship, right? But there’s a long way to go,” O’Ward said. “We just have to keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve been contenders every single weekend so that’s a lot of things that we can be proud of.”

“Going to Detroit is definitely going to be fun. I’m going to try to get that win in Detroit this weekend, and then go and get that championship,” Ericsson said. “A lot to play for still. We’re excited. We’ve had a great start to the year, so we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and we’re going to be right there in the fight.”

Eleven races left in that fight.