2017 Year in Review: Oliver Eriksson
FINISH: 6th in Supercar points
2017 RESULTS: 12 starts, best finish 4th, 4 heat wins, 601 points
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, 2 wins, 5 podiums, 11 heat wins, 447 points (Lites)
THE GOOD: The 2015 GRC Lites champion drew first blood in a three-way Supercar rookie battle this year, taking a heat win to open the New England doubleheader before fellow rookies Mitchell deJong and Cabot Bigham could get on the board. The win came after a near-miss in the Louisville semifinals, as Scott Speed managed to nip him for the top spot by just under a second on a weekend of close finishes.
Eriksson didn’t crack the podium in a main event in 2017, but he did collect four top-five results, including a fourth place in Indianapolis to lead Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE’s three-car outfit. He also led 38 laps over the course of the season, more than any of his teammates or rookie rivals, and only nine fewer than Steve Arpin, who finished third in the championship.
THE BAD: Eriksson was quietly consistent for much of the year, but the Swede was still plagued with a number of disappointing finishes. Finishes of ninth, eighth, and eighth in the two New England rounds and first Ottawa final, despite winning heats leading into all three of those main events, prevented him from capitalizing on the early-season momentum he had been building.
Unfortunately, the last two rounds of the season were also Eriksson’s worst. Qualifying ninth in both Seattle II and Los Angeles, he only cracked the top three in one heat and finished fourth in both semifinals, before placing last in both main events. It was a disappointing ending to a season that had shown plenty of promise, but will ultimately leave Eriksson motivated for 2018.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “The year has been pretty good. We’ve learned a lot and had some good finishes. Between my two teammates and me, this is kind of where we thought we would be. It’s all about building up speed every time you’re out there and trying to find where the grip is.”
2018 PROGNOSIS: Eriksson’s ability to take care of his car—he didn’t miss a race session all year—proved he’s able to hang tough in a Supercar. Expect him to build on that next year.
Photo credit: Louis Yio