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Newgarden wins incident-packed Indy 500 with thrilling last-lap pass

The Team Penske driver emerged victorious after a dramatic climax to the 'greatest spectacle in racing'.

Newgarden 2023 Indy 500
To news overview © Team Penske

Josef Newgarden clinched victory in the 107th running of the Indy 500 after a thrilling one-lap shootout, passing Marcus Ericsson for the win.

The 200-lap event had been largely clean before red flags were thrown for two crashes involving Arrow McLaren drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Patricio O'Ward in the final 20 laps.

Another red flag came when a multiple-car meleé stopped a restart with four laps left, leaving a one-lap shootout for the win.

Newgarden made the winning move over Ericsson into Turn 3 to secure his first Indy 500 win. Santino Ferrucci finished third for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Early drama

Drama hit before the race had even begun with Graham Rahal unable to get started for the formation laps. The Dreyer & Reinbold substitute was forced behind the wall to fix a dead battery and eventually joined the race two laps down.

Early strategy played out in a clean start to the race, with Palou and Veekay trying not to lead as focus switched to fuel conservation.

Scott Dixon began the day as one of the favourites for victory, as ever, but found himself shuffled back in the opening stint of the race as he battled a heavily vibrating left-front tyre, pitting for the first time six laps earlier than scheduled.

Katherine Legge had a scary moment in the pits when half spinning into the wall, narrowly avoiding a crew member for Conor Daly's Ed Carpenter Racing entry and dropping the Briton out of contention.

Arrow McLaren delivered a statement of intent by running to lap 35 in the first stint and saw Rosenqvist, Rossi and O'Ward occupying top-six positions with field-beating fuel mileage.

Pit stop crashes

The fuel conservation battle continued into the second stops with Palou pitting three laps earlier than Veekay, five earlier than Rosenqvist and six earlier than O'Ward.

The Arrow McLaren drivers executed an overcut with Rosenqvist taking the lead and O'Ward slotting into third, though he made light work of Veekay and his teammate to assume the lead. This allowed teamwork between the two to continue the fuel saving at the front of the field.

But the race took a huge turn when Sting Ray Robb crashed into the Turn 1 wall on lap 91, getting into the marbles under attack from Rahal.

The ensuing caution triggered a flurry of pit stops, with Veekay spinning when exiting his pit stall. His car veered into the side of Palou, denting the Spaniard's hopes and handing the Dutchman a penalty.

More drama came at the next round of pit stops with Andretti Autosport teammates Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta colliding on pit road - the American released into the path of the former Haas F1 driver to earn a pass-through penalty.

Frantic racing breeds yellows

Grosjean's race would come to an early end with 50 laps remaining when crashing at Turn 2.

The top six drivers - Ericsson, Newgarden, Rosenqvist, Rossi, Ferrucci and Kyle Kirkwood - stayed during the caution period but the rest of the field pitted.

Palou amazingly cycled through to seventh for the restart, with Dixon also on a recovery drive to ninth.

With the finish approaching, desperation began to set in on the first lap back under green as cars fanned three and four wide with 44 laps to go - Ferrucci making a move for third around the outside at Turn 1. That became the lead almost instantly with brave moves on Newgarden and Ericsson.

Will Power's day was blighted by a weight jacker issue and the Team Penske driver came unstuck when hitting the Turn 2 wall.

Ferrucci triggered the final round of stops with 31 laps to go but a slow stop left him in trouble.

His rivals for victory all pitted a lap later with Ericsson emerging ahead of Rosenqvist and Newgarden, whilst Rossi found himself in fourth after stretching a further two laps. O'Ward ran until lap 180 , allowing him to attack with newer tyres and less fuel conservation in the dying embers of the race.

The Arrow McLaren pounced on the two Swedes ahead of him to assume the lead, before Newgarden made his way past Rosenqvist.

But Rosenqvist slid up into the wall, collecting Kirkwood to trigger a scary accident. Thankfully no one was hurt as a wheel flew over the fencing and past the grandstands.

Winner determined

O'Ward led Ericsson, Newgarden, Rossi and Ferrucci to green for the eight-lap sprint to determine the winner.

Newgarden jumped the front two into Turn 1 but the desperation for position became clear when O'Ward span behind Ericsson into Turn 3. The McLaren was collected by Agustin Canapino, who had collected damage whilst Scott McLaughlin collided in battle with Simon Pagenaud.

The incident triggered a second red flag and another restart with four laps to go, but Benjamin Pedersen and Ed Carpenter were taken out in a multi-car collision before reaching the finish line - another red flag being called with two laps to go.

Ericsson held firm at the start of the final lap but Newgarden enjoyed a monster run off Turn 2, moving past on the outside of Turn 3 for a joyful victory.

Ferrucci valiantly held off a resurgent Palou to finish in the top three, with Rossi the lead McLaren in fifth.

Dixon finished sixth ahead of fellow former champion Takuma Sato, with Daly, Herta and Veekay rounding out the top 10.

Tony Kanaan ended his IndyCar career by finishing 16th for McLaren.


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