Newgarden Goes Back-To-Back For Second Indy 500 Win

Newgarden

Josef Newgarden celebrates winning his second Indianapolis 500 Sunday evening. (James Black/Penske Entertainment photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – With an identical move to the outside of turn three as he did one year ago, Josef Newgarden made a last-lap pass to win the 108th Indianapolis 500 Sunday evening.

Newgarden, driving the No. 2 Shell Chevrolet for Team Penske, led 26 of the 200 laps en route to his second Indianapolis 500 victory – but it was the final one that left fans breathless again.

Mexican Pato O’Ward used a slingshot to the inside coming down the frontstretch at the white flag, hoping to finally snap a run of heartbreak in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

He led off turn two, but Newgarden was lying in wait on the backstretch.

The Tennessee driver flared out on the approach to turn three, kept his foot in the gas, and cleared O’Ward in the short chute before coming back to the Yard of Bricks and received the twin checkers once again – triumphing by .3417 of a second.

It made Newgarden the 21st driver to win multiple Indy 500s, doing so in his 13th attempt. He also banked the $440,000 Double-Up Bonus from BorgWarner by repeating as the Indy 500 champion.

The 31-year-old is the first driver to win back-to-back 500s since former Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves did so in 2001 and 2002. Sunday also marked the record-extending 20th Indy 500 win for owner Roger Penske.

“I knew we could win this race again; it was just a matter of getting it right,” said Newgarden in victory lane. “I’ve got to give it up to Pato as well. He’s an incredibly clean driver. It takes two people to make that work. It’s not just a clean pass, it's working with someone else who's also incredibly clean.

“[Pato] could have easily won this race; it just fell our way.”

Sunday was the perfect salvo for the heartbreak of the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, where Newgarden crossed the line first only to be stripped of the win a month later due to push-to-pass rule violations in all three of the Team Penske Chevrolets.

“They can say whatever they want after this; I don’t care anymore,” he noted. “So proud of this team. They crushed it. We brought the fastest cars and got it done.

“That’s the way I wanted to win it right there.”

Making his post-race celebration a tradition, Newgarden crossed through the gate at the flagstand and dove in to celebrate his triumph with the 300,000-plus assembled fans as well.

“I love this crowd. I have to go in the crowd if we win here. I'm always going to do that,” a jubilant Newgarden said. “Honestly, that wore me out more than the race.”

A day that was originally scheduled to kick off with a 12:45 p.m. green flag was delayed four hours by thunderstorms that swept through the Indianapolis area.

Once racing got going, however, a race-record 16 leaders exchanged the lead 49 times in a wild and mightily entertaining 500-mile affair.

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The turning point of the race came following a restart with 45 to go, after 2018 ‘500’ winner Will Power crashed hard to end his pursuit of a second Indianapolis 500 victory.

That meant that all of the leaders only had to make one more stop to get to the finish, and that cycle began with 31 to go when Rossi gave up the lead for his final trip down pit lane.

Polesitter Scott McLaughlin, Conor Daly, and Scott Dixon quickly followed, while O’Ward stayed out a hair longer than the rest and pitted with 28 to go. The cycle finally concluded with 14 laps left when Kyffin Simpson ducked off the racetrack.

That handed off the lead to a three-car battle of Alexander Rossi, Newgarden, and O’Ward that became electric down the stretch. The trio exchanged the top spot seven times among one another in the final 35 miles, each looking like they were capable of taking their car to victory lane.

Newgarden drafted his way to the front on lap 193, but it was O’Ward who made a gutsy dive to the inside of turn one to move into second and put himself squarely in the conversation.

The popular 25-year-old slingshot past Newgarden coming to the Yard of Bricks on lap 195, sparking a furious scramble between himself and Newgarden to the finish.

O'Ward Newgarden

Pato O'Ward (orange) leads Josef Newgarden at the white flag of Sunday evening's 108th Indianapolis 500. (Walt Kuhn/Penske Entertainment photo)

Newgarden retook the top spot on lap 196, then stayed steady for the next two circuits before O’Ward flared out of the draft down the frontstretch and took the lead by inches as the white flag waved.

Though O’Ward led off turn two for the final time, Newgarden was ready to pounce, and he drove around the outside of the Arrow McLaren young gun entering turn three in the same fashion that he did to beat Marcus Ericsson 12 months earlier.

That left O’Ward to deal with the heartbreak of a third-straight gut punch in the Indy 500. He finished second in 2022 and crashed out with eight laps left while in contention a year ago.

“It’s hard to put this into words,” lamented O’Ward. “I’m proud of the work we did today. We recovered; we went back, we went forward, we went back … and there were some people just driving like maniacs.

“We had so many near-race-enders that we got through. Just so close again. So f*cking close.”

Dixon, the 2008 winner, completed the podium ahead of 2016 winner Rossi and two-time series champion Alex Palou. McLaughlin faded to sixth in the final laps after battling a race-long clutch issue.

Kyle Kirkwood, Santino Ferrucci, Rinus VeeKay, and Daly closed the top 10.

Making his Indianapolis 500 debut, NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Larson contended among the top 10 for most of the race before a lap-131 speeding penalty ended his chances at a potential shock victory.

Larson used a wave-around to get back on the lead lap after Power’s crash and led four laps during the final pit cycle, but ended up 18th. He was the second-highest finishing rookie Sunday, behind only Christian Rasmussen, who placed 12th.

Marco Andretti’s bid for a breakthough Indy 500 win came to an end after a crash on lap 114, while the Hondas of Felix Rosenqvist, Katherine Legge, and Marcus Armstrong all had engine woes that put them out after 55, 22, and six laps, respectively.

A three-car crash in turn one ended the day for Tom Blomqvist, Pietro Fittipaldi, and Ericsson after just one corner Sunday, a bitter end to the long Month of May buildup for all three drivers.

The NTT IndyCar Series continues its season Sunday, June 2 with the Chevrolet Grand Prix on the streets of Detroit, while the 109th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 25, 2025.

The results:

1. 2-Josef Newgarden [3], 2. 5-Pato O’Ward [8], 3. 9-Scott Dixon [21], 4. 7-Alexander Rossi [4], 5. 10-Alex Palou [14], 6. 3-Scott McLaughlin [1], 7. 27-Kyle Kirkwood [11], 8. 14-Santino Ferrucci [6], 9. 21-Rinus VeeKay [7], 10. 24-Conor Daly [29], 11. 6-Callum Ilott [15], 12. 33-Christian Rasmussen [24], 13. 45-Christian Lundgaard [28], 14. 75-Takuma Sato [10], 15. 15-Graham Rahal [33], 16. 41-Sting Ray Robb [23], 17. 20-Ed Carpenter [17], 18. 17-Kyle Larson [5], 19. 77-Romain Grosjean [26], 20. 06-Helio Castroneves [20], 21. 4-Kyffin Simpson [18], 22. 78-Agustin Canapino [22], 23. 26-Colton Herta [13], 24. 12-Will Power [2], 25. 98-Marco Andretti [19], 26. 23-Ryan Hunter-Reay [12], 27. 60-Felix Rosenqvist [9], 28. 8-Linus Lundqvist [27], 29. 51-Katherine Legge [31], 30. 11-Marcus Armstrong [16], 31. 66-Tom Blomqvist [25], 32. 30-Pietro Fittipaldi [30], 33. 28-Marcus Ericsson [32].

Lap Leader(s): Scott McLaughlin 1-23, Sting Ray Robb 24-26, Conor Daly 27-31, Sting Ray Robb 32, Scott McLaughlin 33-35, Conor Daly 36-42, Scott McLaughlin 43-57, Conor Daly 58-64, Sting Ray Robb 65-76, Scott McLaughlin 77-87, Rinus VeeKay 88-91, Christian Lundgaard 92-93, Rinus VeeKay 94-96, Christian Lundgaard 97-99, Josef Newgarden 100-112, Scott McLaughlin 113-125, Josef Newgarden 126-129, Scott McLaughlin 130, Alexander Rossi 131, Santino Ferrucci 132, Scott Dixon 133-134, Pato O’Ward 135-136, Scott Dixon 137-140, Conor Daly 141-143, Sting Ray Robb 144-150, Scott Dixon 151-154, Pato O’Ward 155, Alexander Rossi 156-159, Pato O’Ward 160, Alexander Rossi 161-163, Pato O'Ward 164, Alexander Rossi 165, Pato O’Ward 166-169, Scott Dixon 170-171, Alex Palou 172, Rinus VeeKay 173, Kyle Kirkwood 174-175, Callum Ilott 176, Ed Carpenter 177-179, Kyle Larson 180-183, Kyffin Simpson 184-186, Alexander Rossi 187, Josef Newgarden 188-190, Alexander Rossi 191-192, Josef Newgarden 193-194, Pato O’Ward 195, Josef Newgarden 196-198, Pato O'Ward 199, Josef Newgarden 200.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.