This past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was billed as a marquee moment in American motorsports history. For the first time, two major racing series would be competing on the same track on the same weekend.
It will certainly go down as a memorable weekend. However, it won’t necessarily be for all the right reasons. And to cap it all off, IndyCar Series driver Marcus Ericsson fired a shot at the NASCAR Cup Series for the main reason the weekend left a sour taste in the mouths of so many fans.
Doubleheader weekend of IndyCar and NASCAR Cup Series racing on Indianapolis road course
Although NASCAR and the IndyCar Series raced at Indianapolis on July 4 weekend last year, it wasn’t on the same track as the Xfinity Series and IndyCar raced the road course, while the Cup Series remained on the famous oval.
NBC heavily promoted this year’s event as the first doubleheader weekend where both major series would be competing on the same track. The IndyCar Series opened the weekend’s worth of festivities on Saturday with, appropriately enough, Team Penske driver Will Power kissing the bricks.
After the IndyCars exited the track, the Xfinity Series drivers made their way onto the 2.43-mile road course. Roger Penske, who bought the famed track in 2020, gladly watched a Saturday sweep as another Penske driver, Austin Cindric, won the Xfinity race.
Marcus Ericsson fires shot at NASCAR Cup Series race
On Sunday at Indy, the NASCAR Cup Series was the main attraction and had all the eyeballs of American motorsports fans focused solely on its product. The first couple of stages of the race proved to be entertaining, and included limited cautions, several of which were specifically intended to repair a damaged curb in Turn 6. However, things took a dramatic turn during the final stage when that same curb 6 completely failed and began destroying one car after another.
The major 10-car crash in the waning laps that mangled so many cars ultimately forced NASCAR to put out the red flag so track officials could remove the curb altogether.
Unfortunately, when racing action resumed, another multi-car accident in Turn 6 resulted in yet another lengthy red-flag delay.
IndyCar Series driver Marcus Ericsson, who finished ninth in Saturday’s race, took to Twitter and fired a direct shot at NASCAR and the Cup Series for the hour-plus long delays.
“People said our race last weekend was a mess. What do we call this!? @NASCAR #Verizon200 #NASCAR #NeverEndingRace,” Ericsson tweeted.
Marcus Ericsson wins IndyCar Series race at Nashville after spectacular airborne crash
Ericsson, who is teammates with Jimmie Johnson and drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, was referring to the previous weekend’s IndyCar Series race around the streets of downtown Nashville. In that first-time race in Music City, the 30-year-old Swedish driver got off to an ominous start when he got into the back of Sebastian Bourdais and went airborne, which brought out the race’s first caution.
However, that wasn’t the mess. That came on Lap 19 when Penske teammates Power and Simon Pagenaud made contact on Turn 11. With the streets already so narrow, the bottleneck prevented any cars from getting through. A red flag came out.
There were several other cautions later in the race, but incredibly, Ericsson managed to navigate his way through the field back up to the front and win the inaugural race, his second career IndyCar Series win, both coming this season.