At the Indy 500, Marcus Ericsson gets support from his wife, Iris

INDIANAPOLIS – When Marcus Ericsson won the 106th Indianapolis 500 in 2022, his girlfriend at the time, Iris Tritsauris Jondahl, nearly stole the show as the two shared unbridled joy in Ericsson’s greatest accomplishment.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

When Ericsson nearly won the 107th Indy 500 in 2023, the cameras were focused on Iris, who had become his wife when the two were married earlier that year. The look of disappointment was evident on the Greek model’s face as her husband ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ won the Indy 500 for the second straight year.

Instead, it was Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden who celebrated his first Indy 500 in Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Last weekend, however, Iris had tears streaming down her face, concerned that her Swedish husband might be the lone driver to miss the 33-car starting lineup in this year’s Indy 500.

He had crashed his primary car in practice on Thursday, May 16 and Andretti Global could not extract the necessary speed from his backup car, a road course setup that needed to be modified for the 2.5-mile oval.

Ericsson was one of the four slowest drivers in Saturday’s opening round of qualifications. He joined Katherine Legge, Graham Rahal and rookie Nolan Siegel in the Last Chance Qualifying round on Sunday as four drivers were attempting to get the final three positions on the last row.

“This certainly isn’t what we had in mind when the day began,” Ericsson’s wife told “We were hoping to be in the Fast 12 and have a great chance to run for the pole on Sunday.

“Instead, we aren’t even in the race yet.

“It’s going to be a very long night.”

1970 54th Indianapolis 500
1970 54th Indianapolis 500

He appeared to be well on his way to making the starting lineup until he had his “Jigger Sirois Moment.”

Sirois is infamous in Indianapolis 500 history because of a decision his team made during his qualification attempt in 1969.

The rules back then stated that any car that had the fastest qualification attempt on Pole Day would the pole even if one car went out.

On that day, Sirois was the first to qualify and had put up three slow laps. His team owner and chief mechanic decided to wave the yellow flag on his final lap, waving off his effort because they believed it wouldn’t be fast enough to make the field.

Shortly after Sirois came down pit lane, Arnie Knepper went out for his qualification attempt, but it began to rain on his warmup lap. The rest of qualifications were rained out and if Sirois had completed his final lap, he would have started the 1969 Indianapolis 500 on the pole.

Instead, he never made the 33-car starting lineup in 1969.

Sirois returned to the Indianapolis 500 every year from 1970-75 but failed to qualify each year, never making the starting lineup at Indy.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

During Ericsson’s first qualification effort last Sunday, he let off the accelerator after his third lap thinking his four-lap run was over. That ruined his qualification attempt.

Behind his pit area, Iris broke down in tears, fearing that her husband’s dream of racing for a second Indy 500 win on May 26 were dashed.

Ericsson had to wait about 40 minutes for the ending on his Honda to cool enough to make one final qualification attempt.

His four-lap average of 230.027 miles per hour was the 32nd fastest and moved Graham Rahal into the bump position in 33rd.

But in the final minutes of qualifications, Siegel crashed in Turn 1 on his first qualification lap, and he was out of the race.

Iris could finally wipe away her tears and Ericsson could breathe with relief.

But the driver from Kumla, Sweden said her support helped him get through a difficult weekend.

“When you are driving, you are more in control than when you are watching like Iris,” Ericsson told “It was a stressful weekend for Iris and my family, for sure.

“Her support is very important to me always, but in weekends like we had, it’s even more important because it is mentally tough to have weekends like that. You have to be mentally strong.

“I was very lucky have her there."

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Ericsson said they talked on Sunday night after everything settled down. She convinced him to leave the Indianapolis Motor Speedway driver/owner motorhome lot and return to their home on the north side of Indianapolis.

“We were going to stay at the track until after Monday practice, but we decided to go back to our home on Sunday night, had dinner and had a break from everything,” Ericsson said. “It was good to get away from the track and recharge.”

Ericsson’s parents are in town, as well as his brother and sister-in-law. They were able to enjoy family time to ease the pressure of the Indianapolis 500.

“You’re a team and it means a lot on weekends like we had,” Ericsson said. “Before the crash, I thought I had one of the best race cars out there.

“If we can fine tune the car, we are going to have a car that can win this race. That’s the mindset I’m taking into the Indianapolis 500.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500