Power and Ericsson will enter the field for tonight’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500, followed by Power’s Penske-Chevrolet teammates Joseph Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, followed by Ericsson’s Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda teammate Alex Palou and Scott Dixon, while seventh will be Pato O’Ward in the Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet. While this septet is not quite in the championship order, it is the top seven in the points race with just 60 points.
“I think it shows how competitive this series is,” said Erickson, this year’s winner of the Indy 500. “All the top guys are there. It’s going to be hard to fight, try to beat the guy next to me [Power]. It will be very difficult.
“But we will try our best. I think we have three cars there so we know we have a good package as well. Just try your best, join our race, see what we got.
“Yeah, everybody’s up front, so… That’s pretty typical of IndyCar, right?” said Power, who tied Mario Andretti’s all-time record for pole positions with 67. “It’s just going to come down to the last race.
“The way I see it, even on points right now, it’s so close it might just flip. It will be about who can finish ahead of whom. Everything is simple.”
Power later added: “It just goes to show that no one gives up, no one gives up until the end. Yes, quite a fierce battle… It will be very interesting to see how it unfolds. All you can do is do your best. Do your best. We can’t control some things, so we’ll see what happens.”
Eriksson noted that with so many drivers still in contention for the championship with three races to go, it was important for his #8 Ganassi team to simply go for a second win rather than make light of their rivals’ strategies for the title.
“I think if one or two cars were fighting for it with three to go, you could start the race with that guy,” he said. “But now we have five or even seven cars fighting for the championship, it’s impossible to overcome six other cars.
“You have to focus on yourself. We need to try to win the race because we will be able to fight for it, so that will be our goal. But we know that there is fierce competition. We need to run our race. I think that’s important.”
Power was one of nine drivers who took part in practice at the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway to lay down the rubber and clear the second and third grooves with the ultimate goal of improving racing. It’s a trick that worked at Texas Motor Speedway back in March.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit better than Texas because [WWTR] has no coverage,” said Power, who won here in 2018. “It would have been a really good race if we could have done it, people were really running there in the first 20 laps. It’s just going to be a completely different race than before. Hope it works… The second strip actually has better grip because it’s not polished. We just need rubber.”