Auto Culture

Josef Newgarden Wins 2023 Indianapolis 500


Josef Newgarden won his first-ever Indianapolis 500 – winning a one-on-one last-lap duel with the 2022 victor and former Formula One driver, Marcus Ericsson – as Santino Ferrucci claimed third place in a race that began as snoozefest but ended with a chaotic, crash-filled final 20 laps.

Alex Palou was on pole position at the beginning of the race and was the leader at Lap 50 and would have been the leader halfway through the race as well had not his car been hit in pit lane by Rinus Veekay as Veekay was exiting the pit, although Palou would later find himself in the mix of contending cars at the end of the race.

What had been a mostly yellow flag-free race turned chaotic on Lap 184 as Felix Rosenqvist initiated what was the first of three major crashes at the end of the race. Rosenqvist lost control of his car and spun into the middle of the track where his front wheel was clipped by a passing Kyle Kirkwood as he tried to avoid Rosenqvist – the maneuver severed Kirkwood’s tire from his car and flung the tire over the protective catch fence and sailing into the parking lot [where it landed on a car and no one was hurt] and flipped Kirkwood upside down and sliding against the wall. Kirkwood was also not hurt as his cockpit safety halo device protected him as he slid upside down along the wall.

The race was red-flagged, but on the race restart on Lap 193, Pato O’Ward tried a maneuver on Ericsson and crashed into the wall while a couple of other cars [Augustin Canapino and Simon Pagenaud] also crashed behind him.

That took O’Ward out of the race and created yet another restart on Lap 197 where a three-car crash behind the leaders aborted that attempt and set up the Lap 199 restart pitting Ericsson, Newgarden, Ferrucci and former Formula 1 driver and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi against each other.

Ericsson was the leader and got a big jump at the race restart, which effectively eliminated Ferrucci and Rossi but Newgarden was able to claw his way back to Ericsson halfway through the lap and eventually pass Ericsson and then fended off a wild charge from Ericsson on the final corner and straightaway to win by a car length.

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