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Josef Newgarden Wins Indy 500 for Team Penske

It took twelve tries but Josef Newgarden finally has his first victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is even sweeter that Newgarden won for Team Penske. Roger Penske bought the speedway and spent a fortune renovating it.


Josef Newgarden is a two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion but winning the Indianapolis 500 had eluded him until now. After a number of cautions and three red-flag restarts, Newgarden passed reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson on the last lap to finally take the checkered flag. Newgarden drives the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet for Roger Penske. While this is Newgarden’s first career victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” it is Team Penske’s record 19th win in the race. Roger Penske known affectionately as "The Captain" bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2019.

Josef Newgarden’s Big Win

The stands at the speedway were packed as 32-year-old Newgarden, from Nashville, Tennessee, earned his spot on the Borg-Warner Trophy. It is the best-known trophy in racing. The Indy 500 and the NASCAR’s Daytona 500 are the best-known races in all of sports.

“Everyone just kept asking me why I haven’t won this race,” Newgarden said. “They looked at you like you’re a failure if you don’t win it. I wanted to win it so bad. I knew we could. I knew we were capable. It’s a huge team effort, as everybody knows. I’m so glad to be here.”

After his cooldown lap, Newgarden climbed through the fence into the front grandstands to celebrate with fans. He disappeared into a joyous crowd before climbing back onto the track to be congratulated by his family and Team Penske crew on the famous Yard of Bricks start-finish line.

Santino Ferrucci finished third in the No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet. It was the best “500” finish for AJ Foyt Racing since Eliseo Salazar also finished third in 2000.

Pole sitter Alex Palou rallied to finish fourth in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.

2016 “500” winner Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Newgarden’s Historic Win

This was only the third time in Indy 500 history that a driver used a last-lap pass to win. Three hundred thousand race fans were on hand to see it.

“I was just trying to stay locked in,” Newgarden said. “I was emotional the last 10 laps because I knew we were in a position to fight for this win at the end. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it was going to come to some last-lap shootout like it always is these days, which is exciting but stressful for us.”

Swedish driver Ericsson was upset with the late red flag and one-lap showdown, hoping instead the race would end under caution with him out front.

“I think we did everything right today,” Ericsson said. “I’m proud of the No. 8 crew and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. I think I did everything right behind the wheel. I did an awesome last restart. I just couldn’t hold it on the back. I was flat. I just couldn’t hold it.”

Newgarden will split $20,000 with Team Penske and his chosen charities, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

Next Stop Detroit

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit presented by Lear on Sunday, June 4. The race is returning to the streets of Detroit after years of being held on Belle Isle. Roger Penske has championed the Indy race in Detroit. His commitment raised millions for the renovations of Belle Isle and similarly they have spent a small fortune to improve the Detroit streets for the upcoming race. Live coverage starts at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 convertible was the pace car for the Indy 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo

Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.

Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories.