May 28, 2023

Newgarden wins first Indy 500 after chaotic ending


Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 28, 2023. - Ben Thorp / WFYI

Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Ben Thorp / WFYI

The 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 was held Sunday and ended with a close finish.

Drivers sped through nearly half the 200 laps of the greatest spectacle in racing with no incidents at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The last 16 laps were met with numerous crashes as drivers jockeyed for positions. Three red flags were waved in the final laps before Josef Newgarden won his first Indy 500.

After Newgarden’s Team Penske car crossed the yard of bricks, he got out and made his way  straight into the crowd of race fans.

“I’ve always wanted the honor to win this race because I wanted to go into the crowd if it was possible,” Newgarden said later. Because I know what the energy is like here in Indianapolis.”

Newgarden has had 11 previous Indy 500 starts and came closest to a win in the 2019 auto race.

Last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing,expressed frustration with the decision to wave a third red flag that resulted in the one lap shootout. "I did not think it was a fair way to end the race." he said.

Ericsson took second place.

Newgarden said he knew he had to push it in the last lap. 

“I was either going to win the race or end up in the wall. I wasn’t here to finish second, third or fourth today, I was here to win,” Newgarden said.

The Memorial Day weekend race drew the largest crowds in recent history, more than 300,000 people were estimated to have made the trek to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IMS does not release official attendance numbers

Newgarden gave Roger Penske his first Indy 500 win since Penske purchased the track in 2019. Penske said as the steward of the speedway it’s a big win.

“To see him go down by the start finish line was pretty important,” Penske said.

One crash sent a tire flying dangerously close to the stands but it landed in a parking lot and hit a car.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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