Newgarden secures consecutive victories at the Indy 500, granting Roger Penske his record-extending 20th win

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Josef Newgarden crosses the finish line

Josef Newgarden parked his winning Team Penske car once again at the Yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He found the same gap in the fence, climbed through, and was embraced by fans celebrating his second straight Indianapolis 500 victory.

Every aspect of his win on Sunday, including the last-lap battle, this time with Pato O’Ward, felt just like last year’s. The only change was the situation.

Last year, Newgarden was the unlucky driver who had achieved a lot but had never won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” On Sunday, he was the star winning the race amid a controversy that barred his race strategist from even being inside the speedway for the rain-delayed event.

Putting the controversy behind him, Newgarden became the first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500s since Helio Castroneves 22 years ago, giving Roger Penske a record-extending 20th victory in the iconic race.

The Tennessee native passed O’Ward on the final lap to achieve this feat, becoming the first driver to claim consecutive 500s since Castroneves did it for Penske in 2001 and 2002. Just like last year, Newgarden celebrated by climbing through a gap in the fence to share the moment with fans in the grandstands.

Josef Newgarden celebrates with fans

“I adore this crowd. Whenever we win here, I always make sure to go into the crowd, that’s something I always do,” said Newgarden, who received a $440,000 bonus from trophy-maker BorgWarner for his back-to-back wins, a prize established in 1995 and previously won only by Castroneves.

Penske watched the race from high above the speedway and cheered when Newgarden crossed the finish line. Then, he hugged his wife.

In less than an hour, the sign for Penske’s parking spot at the speedway was changed from “19” to “20.” O’Ward was visibly disappointed, with his head down on the steering wheel. He aimed to be the first Mexican in 108 years to win the Indy 500.

He seemed to have tears when he took off his helmet. In his first Indy 500, he finished sixth, then fourth, and last year, he came in second, where he was criticized for not being aggressive enough.

He refused to hold back this time but ended up crashing as he pushed for victory. As O’Ward waited for the right moment in the final laps and traded the lead with Newgarden, he hoped to make the winning move on the last lap.

However, Newgarden quickly regained the lead. O’Ward said, “It’s tough to explain — we moved forward, then backward, and some drivers were racing aggressively. We had so many close calls. It’s tough when you come so close again. … I pushed the car to its limits. It’s heartbreaking when you’re so close, especially when it’s not the first time and you’re not sure how many more chances you’ll get.”

Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning the race

O’Ward had finished second to Newgarden in six races and was still emotional an hour after the race. He mentioned battling the flu for the past week and barely getting any sleep in the last five days.

“I’m okay. It’s been a tough month, and a lot of effort goes into this race,” O’Ward expressed. “I’m someone who shows my feelings openly. When you get so close and things don’t work out, it’s very emotional.”

He mentioned he took his time to exit the car and remove his helmet because “I just needed to calm down. It was wet inside.”

Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing finished third as the top Honda driver and understood O’Ward’s feelings. Dixon, a six-time IndyCar champion with one Indy 500 win, said, “It’s a privilege to race here.

I’ve been fortunate to win, but Pato has been close a few times. It can be tough. Finishing second is hard. It’s better to finish last than second here and be out early. He’ll be okay. He has plenty of time.”

The victory marked an impressive comeback for Newgarden, whose March win was disqualified due to Team Penske’s use of illegal push-to-pass software. Newgarden utilized the extra power three times in that win, and IndyCar discovered Penske’s manipulation nearly six weeks later.

Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning Indianapolis 500

Roger Penske, the owner of the race team, IndyCar, the Indy 500, and the speedway, suspended four crew members, including Team President Tim Cindric. The Cindric suspension was a significant setback for Newgarden as Cindric is seen as the best strategist in the series.

Newgarden was happy to secure the win and move past the push-to-pass scandal. “Yes, they can say what they want, but I don’t even care anymore,” he said. “It’s always a team effort. This victory represents a team effort. I’m grateful for Roger Penske; he stood by me. He’s the man. He’s a legend.”

The race start was delayed four hours due to rain, which spoiled NASCAR star Kyle Larson’s chance to run “The Double.” The delay at Indy caused him to miss the start of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Although Larson performed decently throughout the day, two rookie errors led to an 18th-place finish. He boarded a helicopter headed to a plane for North Carolina within minutes of the race ending.

“I’m proud to have finished but disappointed in myself,” said Larson, who has a two-year deal with Arrow McLaren and Hendrick Motorsports for Indy and could return in 2025.

Dixon was followed by Alexander Rossi, O’Ward’s teammate at Arrow McLaren Racing. Chevrolet took three of the top four spots.

A crash on the first lap took out Ericsson, the 2022 winner, Tom Blomqvist, and Pietro Fittipaldi as three Honda drivers failed to complete a lap. In total, Honda drivers finished in the final seven spots.


By Christopher Kamila

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