Berliner Tageblatt - Newgarden wins Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske

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Newgarden wins Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske
Newgarden wins Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske / Photo: © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Newgarden wins Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske

Josef Newgarden of Team Penske denied a late challenge from Mexican Pato O'Ward to win a thrilling and incident packed Indianapolis 500 on Sunday becoming the first back-to-back winner in 22 years.

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New Zealand's Scott Dixon finished third in the race which had been delayed by four hours due to heavy rain and lightning in the area.

The crowd were rewarded for their patience during the storm delay with a dramatic finale to the race.

O'Ward, whose best finish in the race was runner-up in 2022, looked to have timed his push perfectly, grabbing the lead in turn one on the final lap.

But Newgarden powered back to pass him going into turn three and claim a record-extending 20th victory in the Indy 500 for Penske.

Newgarden finished 0.341 ahead of Arrow McLaren's O'Ward and celebrated by jumping into the crowd.

"There is no better way to win a race than that. I've got to give it up to Pato as well," Newgarden told race broadcasters NBC.

"He's an incredibly clean driver. He could have easily won this race, too, but it just fell our way and I am so proud of everybody, proud of the whole team," he said.

The last driver to win back-to-back in the fabled race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was Brazilian Helio Castroneves, who triumphed in 2001 and 2002.

O'Ward was distraught after again getting so close to the prize he has sought for so long.

"It's hard to put it in words. I'm proud of the work that we did today. We recovered. we went back, we went forward, we went back," he told NBC.

"Some people were just driving like maniacs. We had so many near race enders and just so close again, so close," he said.

"I put that car through things I never thought he was going to be able to do. Oh man, it's just so painful when you put so much into it and then two laps short, or two corners short," he added.

Alexander Rossi of Arrow McLaren, had jousted with Newgarden for the lead but finished fourth with Spaniard Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing in fifth.

Penske's Scott McLaughlin, who started on pole, finished sixth.

The lead changed 87-times over the 500 miles with 16 different race leaders.