Josef Newgarden straight Indy 500 in duel with Pato O'Ward

INDIANAPOLIS – Josef Newgarden became a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner in about a year and a half after it took him twelve years to win one. There was nothing that could stop him.

Lead engineer and strategist are not absent. Not after a four-hour wait. Not by two teammates in the qualifying round. Not a four-hour delay due to thunderstorms during the daytime, and not a feisty Pato O’Ward claiming the lead in the last laps while attempting to win the 500 in a historic manner.

As the two raced down the backstretch for the last time, Newgarden remained unfazed by the leading Arrow McLaren adversary and managed to make an impression on O’Ward.

And much like he did a year prior, Newgarden stormed into the grandstands after parking following his victory lap.

“Absurd! I adore this group of people. Newgarden remarked, “I’m always doing that,” as if to hint that Sunday’s 500 victory wouldn’t be his last.

However, Newgarden also had a different message. Following a month in which almost the whole paddock criticized him and Team Penske for their push-to-pass controversy, which cost Newgarden his season-opening victory, the most recent multiple 500 winner mocked those who had questioned him.

At this point, they are free to say whatever they choose. Newgarden, who receives a $440,000 incentive from BorgWarner for winning back-to-back races at the 500 for the first time in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in over 20 years, remarked, “I don’t even care anymore.” “I’m really happy with this squad. They destroyed it. They arrived here in the fastest car and put in a ton of labor.

Although they’re not here today, suspended engineers Luke Mason and Tim Cindrdic, the team president and strategist, play a significant role in this. I simply adore every member of the Penske team. That’s how I wanted to win that particular contest.

Chaotic start eliminates 10 cars

Only 23 vehicles remained at the finish line due to exceptionally high levels of modern-day Indianapolis 500 attrition, many of which occurred in single-car collisions.

Rookie Tom Blomqvist lost traction and spun up the track after drifting too low on the first turn of the race. With nowhere to go, the driver for Meyer Shank Racing caught Marcus Ericsson. Pietro Fittipaldi struck Callum Ilott in the side during the rush to escape the main carnage, killing Fittipaldi.

Josef Newgarden

Marcus Armstrong, a rookie driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, retired with the first of what were probably three blown engines from the Honda team during the initial caution. On Lap 24, Katherine Legge’s Dale Coyne Racing vehicle erupted in smoke, causing the second incident.On Lap 56, Felix Rosenqvist of Meyer Shank Racing was eliminated due to the third blown Honda engine.

After that, rookie Linus Lundqvist of CGR (Lap 28), Colton Herta (Lap 86), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Lap 107), Marco Andretti (Lap 114), and Will Power (Lap 147) all had single-car collisions. Herta was one of them; he was not seriously hurt and could have made it back to pitlane in his No. 26 Honda, but he unbuckled and got out of the vehicle. The young American had lost around fifteen laps by the time Andretti Global picked up his car, pushed it back to the garage, mended it, and got him back out.

Serious contenders emerge

Power’s crash pulled the field back together after the lead-pack was divided in half by the chaotic amount of cautions, with O’Ward, Dixon, and others on one, and Newgarden, McLaughlin, Rossi, and Palou at its front on another. The latter group, which was at the time on a significant fuel-save, appeared to benefit from the mishap. Suddenly, the leaders just had to pull over for one more stop.

The order was O’Ward, Rossi, Dixon, Newgarden, Palou, McLaughlin, VeeKay, Daly, Ferrucci, and Kirkwood, just before the top-10’s last scheduled stop.

On lap 169, Rossi was the first to pit, then on lap 171, Newgarden, McLaughlin, and Daly came next. On Lap 172, Dixon, O’Ward, and Castroneves finished off the contesting pack’s final stops. Dixon appeared to stop briefly as he left pitlane, but once everyone cycled through, he emerged ahead. The 2008 500 winner and the winner from the previous year swapped the lead over the next ten laps.

After being the first of the leaders to pit, Rossi seized the lead on Lap 188 but gave it back to Newgarden at the beginning of Lap 189, as if his strategist Brian Barnhart was pleading with him to conserve fuel so he could finish the race safely. With nine laps remaining, the 2016 500 winner managed to get it back just beyond the start-finish line.

Josef Newgarden, O’Ward duel to the line

On Lap 194, Newgarden took the lead, and the race suddenly became a mano-e-mano between the reigning champion and the driver who was vying for the lead the most. The lead was switched between the two on Laps 196 and 197. Beginning on Lap 198, O’Ward crept closer to Newgarden but appeared to be deliberately holding back, a move he repeated on Lap 199.

After that, O’Ward entered Turn 1 after circling around the outside of Newgarden with 2.5 miles remaining. It was one straightaway too soon, as it turned out. A little distance from the spot where Newgarden won the race by passing Ericsson on the final lap a year prior, he repeated the feat on O’Ward and drove it home.

O’Ward was furious and had crossed his arms over the aeroscreen of his No. 5 Chevy when Newgarden charged into the throng.

With tears beginning to well up from the corners of his eyes, O’Ward said, “It’s just hard to put into words.” “I’m happy with the work we completed today. In addition to some amazing back-and-forth driving, there were also some insane drivers. Few near-race finishers, and so close once again. Very (very) near.

“I did things to that automobile that I never imagined I could do, and nevertheless I survived. It hurts so much. We were short by two corners despite my immense effort. I owe this tune nothing, yet it still stings. When two people are that close, it’s always heartbreaking, because you never know when these possibilities may present themselves.

Newgarden was all over the young Mexican driver’s consolation award, praising him profusely for their battle in the final kilometers.

“Transfer it to Pato. From Victory Podium, Newgarden stated, “He’s such a clean driver, and it takes two people to make that work.” It needs to be done with an exceptionally tidy person. He also had a chance to win this race.

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