Long Beach front row a sign of Ericsson's work paying off already

Perry Nelson/Lumen

Long Beach front row a sign of Ericsson's work paying off already

IndyCar

Long Beach front row a sign of Ericsson's work paying off already

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Near enough was good enough for Marcus Ericsson in NTT IndyCar Series qualifying at Long Beach on Saturday.

Ericsson’s final flying lap was just short of being quick enough to knock Kyle Kirkwood off pole, but the Swede is perfectly happy with a starting spot on the outside of the front row for Sunday’s race.

“I’m really happy with that result today,” said Ericsson, who is chasing his second street course victory of the season after winning the curtain-raiser at St Petersburg.

“Of course, it’s frustrating when you’re that close. I felt like I really maximized my performance today. I felt like I drove really well. On a good lap in Q2, that red flag came out. Had to reset and get one shot to transfer. I was on the outside looking in, and had to go out and deliver and match it to get me to the Fast Six. Then again there on used tires… to be that close to pole, I think that was a really good effort. I’m really happy with that. Race day is our strength. We’ll start on the front row, (and) we should have a good shot at winning tomorrow.”

Ericsson had targeted qualifying as an area he needed to work on during the winter and said it felt gratifying to see that effort already bearing fruit, even if he struggled to identify what exactly had changed.

“I cannot point at this or this reason is why I’m doing better,” he said. “The progress is about working hard and working on all aspects as a driver.

“I worked with a mental coach, I worked with my physical coach, I worked with my engineer and the rest of the Ganassi crew to get my car more to the liking, to understand the tires better. It’s a combination of all those things that makes a difference, I think. So it’s hard to pinpoint something. I’m happy I’m doing it. I feel like I’m stronger and better than ever, so… I’m going to continue doing it.

“We’ve had a good start to the year. We’re making progress. Our weakness, or my weakness, has been qualifying in IndyCar so far. I think our form this year shows we’re making progress. All my IndyCar career has been about making progress, getting better and better, stronger and stronger. Now we’re a better package, better driver this year again.

“I think everyone should look out, because we’re in it and we’re going to fight it all the way through.”

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