Newgarden Wins First Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – RIS – Two Time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden finally finished first in the 2023 Indianapolis 500. Newgarden prevailed in a one-lap shootout with defending race winner Marcus Ericsson on Sunday after incidents in the closing laps brought out multiple red flags in the 107th running of the iconic race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Team Penske driver and Henderson, Tennessee native passed last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson with less than half a lap remaining then held off the Swede to take the checkered flag at the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for the first time. Newgarden also gave team owner Roger Penske his 19th victory on the legendary track he now owns.
"I just felt like everyone kept asking me why I haven't won this race. And, you know, they look at you like you're a failure if you don't win it, and I wanted to win it so bad" an elated Newgarden said.
Newgarden, 32 years of age, celebrated heavily. He ran from his car, climbing through the fence by the flag stand and running up the stairs to celebrate with fans sitting in the area. He later attempted climbing up the catchfense, but apparently thought better of it.
The win was the 27th of his career. He had 11 attempts at Indy, but had finished 3rd three times. Newgarden led just five total laps after starting 17th, the furthest back for a winner since Ryan Hunter-Reay started 19th in 2014.
“This is just amazing," Newgarden said after making it back out onto the track for a post-race interview. "Regardless of where you're sitting in America, driving a car, you're working on it, or you're out here in the crowd, you're part of this event and the energy. And so thank you to Indianapolis. I love this city.”
Ron Fleshman and John Davison are Editors at ris-news.com