Newgarden finally gets it done at Indy after red flag finale


Josef Newgarden came out on top of a red flag-ridden finale on Sunday to secure his first win in the Indianapolis 500.

The Chevrolet-powered Penske driver defeated Chip Ganassi Racing's Marcus Ericsson after overtaking the Swede during a dramatic one-lap shootout, depriving his rival of a second consecutive win at the Brickyard.

Permutations at the front of the field were fast and furious all afternoon, but in typical Indy 500 fashion the race came alive in the final 25 laps.

However, with 17 laps to go, Arrow McLaren's Felix Rosenqvist drifted up against the wall on the short chute and lost control.

The Swede's spinning car was then clipped at full speed by Kyle Kirkwood whose car flipped as it made contact with the wall and skidded down the track in a fireworks of sparks.


Fortunately, both drivers emerged unscathed from their wrecks.

After a lengthy red flag clean-up period the race was restarted but then paused again when another Arrow McLaren driver, Pato O'Ward, crashed on lap 192 while battling Ericsson for second place as the pair entered Turn 3.

The final red flag of the afternoon was deployed on lap 195, just seconds after the race went green, when several backmarkers banged wheels and wrecked.

The succession of events set the race up for a dramatic two-lap finale, one lap behind the Safety Car and one full lap of racing.

Ericsson bolted on the main straight but Newgarden caught up and overhauled the CGR charger on the back stretch, entering Turn 3 in the lead and holding his own until the checkered flag to claim his first Indy 500 win in 12 starts at the Speedway.

"To win this race is indescribable," Newgarden said after celebrating his win by hopping through the catchfence and joining the crowd opposite the finish libne.

"I think being at this event is indescribable. Someone has to come and see it and be a part of it to understand what it is really all about.

"I’ve always wanted the honour to win this race. I wanted to go in the crowd if it was ever possible, because I know what the energy is like here in Indianapolis.

"So to me, it was an unbelievable finish to be able to be here with the team and do that."

"Everyone kept asking me why I haven’t won this race,” he added.

"They look at you like you’re a failure if you don’t win it. And 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."


As for Ericsson, the former F1 driver cast a dejected figure at the end of the race, insisting the succession of red flags had made the race's finale "unfair and dangerous".

Had the event concluded under the yellow flags, the Swede would have scored his second consecutive win at Indy. Instead, he was left to ponder what may have been.

"I just thought it was an unfair and dangerous end to the race," he said.

"I don’t think there was enough laps to go when the yellow came, so I think it should have finished under yellow.

"We’ve never done a restart out of the pits, we don’t get the tyres up to temperature.

"They should have called it earlier. If they wanted a red, they should have called a red earlier. I think when they kept it going, then I think they should have called it."

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