Sun, 01 Oct 2023

Josef Newgarden makes late dash to win Indy 500

Field Level Media
29 May 2023, 06:40 GMT+10

Josef Newgarden became the Indianapolis 500 champion by successfully completing a one-lap dash after a series restarts following a frightening late-race wreck Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 107th edition of the event had plenty of drama and lots of downtime in the late going.

Marcus Ericsson of Sweden looked to be in position to repeat as champion, but that was dashed by Newgarden's aggressive last lap.

Newgarden, 32, held the lead for a restart with four laps remaining. That figured to be the final restart, but another red flag came out. He came out in front anyway.

Newgarden, who drives for Team Penske, is a Nashville, Tenn., native. He was so excited after winning his first Indy crown that he briefly entered the stands to celebrate.

Santino Ferrucci finished third.

The final 15 laps of the race took more than one hour to complete.

Much of the late-race confusion and anxieties were initiated with 14 laps remaining, Kyle Kirkwood was running 10th when a crash put his car upside down and skidding across the track. The mayhem also largely involved Felix Rosenqvist, who spun out and was slammed by Kirkwood's car. A red flag came out with an ensuing delay of more than 20 minutes.

During the accident, a tire flew off the track and close to a spectator area near Turn 2. Video of the incident showed the tire sailing above spectators and into a parking area, but there were no reported injuries either on the track or off the track in the short period after the wreck.

Kirkwood gave a thumbs-up signal and waved as he was assisted from his car. He was later released from the infield medical center.

Following the restart, Pato O'Ward's bid to win was ruined when he was collected in a crash. His move on the inside was doomed when he was banged into by Agustin Canapino, whose car was out of control and appeared to lose braking power. Simon Pagenaud also was involved. That brought out another red flag.

O'Ward and Ericsson were poised for a frantic finish. They were joined by Newgarden, Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi with 20 laps to go.

Ericsson was in the front with 50 laps remaining. By the 25-lap mark, O'Ward was in the lead.

In between, Newgarden and Ferrucci both were race leaders.

It was a strong push from O'Ward, who withstood fueling issues earlier in the race.

More than halfway through the race, Alex Palou had led the most laps. That was no surprise as he held the pole position after a record-setting four-lap qualifying average of 234.217 mph.

Early misfortunes were endured by Katherine Legge, who was first out of the race, and Sting Ray Robb, who was undone by a single-car accident.

--Field Level Media

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