Newgarden wins thrilling Indy 500 as he passes Ericsson on the last lap

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By John Goolsby

The 107th Running of the Indy 500 took place under sunny Indiana skies and in front of one of the largest crowds in the history of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Nearly 350,000 race fans witnessed the fastest field in history take the green at 12:48 local time. They were also treated to one of the wildest races in the history of the brickyard.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden came away with his first 500 win after eleven previous tries.

Photo credit: Josef Newgarden

Early in the race, tyre degradation was an issue. Scott Dixon had to pit on lap 26 due to a tire vibration and fell from the 5th position to 14th.

The race stayed green until rookie Sting Ray Robb’s crash on lap 92 brought out the race’s first caution. Robb, racing with Graham Rahal into a turn, ended up getting high in the marbles offline and hit the wall. Robb put the blame on Rahal. “I’ve had too many learning experiences this year,” Robb said. “I’m sick and tired of it.”

During the caution, Rinus VeeKay spun coming off pit road and crashed into Alex Palou. The two drivers had been dominant until the incident. VeeKay was penalized for the pit lane incident and served a drive through penalty.

With 40 laps remaining, Ferrucci took the lead from Ericsson, much to the approval of the crowd. AJ Foyt’s driver led the next nine laps.

With 31 laps remaining, several drivers pitted, including Ferrucci from the lead. Near disaster struck Ferrucci as the left front tire nearly rolled out of the pit box.

With 16 laps to go, Rosenqvist spun and collected Kyle Kirkwood. Kirkwood’s car flipped against the wall and skidded to a stop farther down the track. During the accident, a tire cleared the fence and struck an unoccupied vehicle in a nearby parking lot.

The green flag came out with eight laps remaining. Newgarden briefly took the lead as O’Ward and Ericsson battled with each other. O’Ward attempted a pass to the inside of Ericsson but crashed with seven laps remaining. Augustin Canapino was also caught up in the O’Ward spin. The second red flag of the day came out.

With four laps remaining, Ericsson led Newgarden and Ferrucci into turn one. Before the lap was completed, an Ed Carpenter crash with Marco Andretti and Christian Lundgaard brought out the third red flag of the day. After reviewing the data, IndyCar put Ericsson in first, Newgarden in second, Ferrucci in third, and Alexander Rossi in fourth.

A one-lap shootout, the first since 1997, decided the race. Ericsson got a massive jump off of turn four to take the green, but Newgarden took the lead out of turn two and held Ericsson off for his first Indy 500 win. The finish was the fourth fastest in Indy 500 history. Ferrucci finished third, and Palou 4th after charging through from the back.

“I got a run on the back straight. I knew if I could just get him and clear him into three, maybe we can hold on the line, but he was so quick on the straights that it wasn’t guaranteed. Newgarden said. “It was a fight. It was just a big fight. It is not easy to win this race. It is the most difficult race in the world to win.”

Ericsson, the 2022 champion, was less enthused about the red flags. “It was an unfair, dangerous end to the race,” he said. “We’ve never done a restart out of the pits. We don’t get the tyres up to temperature.”

This was the first time in the history of the 500 that more than one competition stop happened.

On the cool-down lap, Newgarden parked his car in the middle of the track and jumped through a photo hole to celebrate with many cheering fans.

“I’m just so thankful to be here,” Newgarden said. “You have no idea. I started out as a fan in the crowd. This place, it’s amazing, regardless of where you’re sitting.”