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Newgarden commends O'Ward for clean late-race tussle

Josef Newgarden pulled off a seismic overtake on Pato O'Ward for the win of the Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis 500 race winner Josef Newgarden has praised Pato O'Ward for keeping the late-race battle for the lead clean.

The duo fought for the race win as the event entered its final stages, with Newgarden coming out on top for this second Indy 500 win in two years.

O'Ward overtook Newgarden on the run into Turn 1 on the final lap as he bid to claim his first race win at the venue.

However, Newgarden responded around the outside of Turn 3 to seal the position and the race victory, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the event since 2002.

“I knew we could win this race again and it was just a matter of getting it right,” Newgarden said. 

“There's just no better way to win a race than that. I got to give it up to Pato as well. He's an incredibly clean driver. 

“It takes two people to make that work and so it's not just a good pass, it’s also someone you're working with that's incredibly clean. 

“So I mean, I give my hat off to Pato. He could easily have won this race too. But it just fell our way and I'm just so proud of everybody.”

Newgarden's Indy 500 win comes amid a difficult season for the Team Penske driver, with his season overshadowed by a disqualification from the season-opening race in St Petersburg.

Team Penske president Tim Cindric and Newgarden's lead engineer Luke Mason were suspended by the team following an investigation into the St Petersburg scandal - with Newgarden ensuring he mentioned the sidelined team members after his win.

“We just had an incredible car,” he said. “I got a little out of position at lap 150. We were restarting eighth and I really thought I went too soon.

“Then tried to back up, and that put us in a hole. And so JD came over the radio and he said, 'Look, you have to win this thing the old-fashioned way. I can't help you, it’s not going to through stops, it's not going to be fuel'. 

“So I just went for it. I said, 'alright, the car is good enough'.

“Luke at home, who’s not here but deserves to be here and Tim, they're a huge part of this team. But Raul and JD did a great job this whole month.”

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