It was a celebration with reflection as Marcus Ericsson and team owner Chip Ganassi each received a respective “Baby Borg” on Thursday night in a ceremony at The Thermal Club.
Ericsson, driver of the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, has taken part in numerous festivities after winning last year’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. However, anticipation built for the Swede’s very own mini-version of the famed Borg-Warner Trophy.
This was Ganassi’s sixth victory as a team owner, with five coming as owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and his first as a co-owner of Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1989 winner fielded by Patrick Racing. Only Roger Penske, with 18 victories, has more Indianapolis 500 wins as an owner.
Several notables attended the event, including Penske, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles, Ganassi team manager Mike Hull and representatives from Ericsson’s car sponsor Huski Chocolate, among others. BorgWarner Global Director of Marketing and Public Relations Michelle Collins presented the trophies to Ericsson and Ganassi.
In the buildup, both Ericsson and Ganassi were presented with a personal and prized gift from motorsports legend Parnelli Jones. The duo was given signed custom portraits from Jones, which consisted of a compilation of images from his 1963 Indy 500 victory.
That sentimental present was a proper lead into the most-awaited moment as Ericsson rose from his seat with stunned look and finally put his hands around the Baby Borg.
“Since seeing my face on the big Borg-Warner Trophy was the moment where it really sunk in that I'd won the race,” Ericsson said. “It took awhile. So now today, receiving my own Baby Borg, something I can bring home and actually have at home and see every day that I won, that's extremely special. And something that I will put a lot of pride in having this, of course.”
Now, with the Baby Borg set to rest peacefully at home, there will be motivation to add it each time he leaves for work. And the next goal is to go back-to-back with Indy victories, something last achieved by Helio Castroneves in 2001-02.
“I'm very excited for this year,” Ericsson said. “I'm very excited to come back in the Month of May as the defending champion. It's been awhile since someone went back-to-back, so we have a challenge there to try and do that. I think we're going to have a good chance.
“Chip Ganassi Racing, I know they're going to give me a good car, and Honda is going to be strong there, as well. So, I'm very excited to get back there and get in May and just experience the whole Month of May as the defending champion.”