Besides several firsts for the racing event, it was also a first for the winning driver. Before starting his journey with the IndyCar racing series, Ericsson tried his luck at Formula 1 for five years but remained unsuccessful through 97 races. In 2019, he joined the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team, headed by Indy 500 icon Sam Schmidt, as a rookie. However, Ericsson was let go when McLaren bought 75% of the team’s stakes in 2020 and renamed it Arrow McLaren SP.
The same year, Ericsson joined the Chip Ganassi Racing team. He got the Swedish chocolate company Huski Chocolate as a sponsor for the number 8 car that he drove to victory at the 2020 Indy 500. Ericsson spent the following two years training and repairing the lost confidence over his winless seasons in F1.
This is the fifth Indy 500 win for the Chip Ganassi team and the first in almost a decade. Along with Ericsson, the team for the event comprises Scott Dixon, who has six IndyCar victories to his name, and Álex Palou, who finished the last season at the top of the points table. Also on the team are Jimmie Johnson, who has seven NASCAR wins to his name and is trying his hand at the open-wheel format without a full-time obligation with the team, and the 47-year-old Tony Kanaan, who has been participating in the IndyCar series for the last 20 years.