Josef Newgarden wins the Indy 500 with a LAST-LAP pass | Top Gear
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Thursday 5th October

Josef Newgarden wins the Indy 500 with a LAST-LAP pass

Two-time IndyCar champ is finally an Indy 500 winner after sneaking past Marcus Ericsson with two corners to go

Published: 30 May 2023

A few hours after the drama had unfolded at the Monaco Grand Prix, Josef Newgarden took the chequered flag at the Indy 500 after a sensational last-lap pass on last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson.

The 32-year-old is a double IndyCar champion and yet somehow victory in the series’ biggest race had somehow evaded Newgarden until now. In fact, it looked like it would do so again as multiple crashes made the final stages an agonising mix of safety car laps and red flags.

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Arrow McLaren pair Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist had been in control for much of the race, routinely trading the lead with each other in the middle part of the race until divergent strategies put them on different paths.

Rosenqvist was in contention until a collision with Kyle Kirkwood with 17 laps left to run, which scarily sent a wheel flying over the catch fencing and into an adjacent car park, narrowly missing a grandstand full of fans. Luckily, no one was hurt.

That left O’Ward as the favourite with eight laps to go, but Ericsson grabbed the lead from him immediately after the restart and two corners later O’Ward was in the wall having struck the Swede’s back wheel. This was after the pair had battled for the win last year… “I’ll make sure that he comes with me next time,” said Pato after. Spicy.

That left time for one final racing lap, and despite Ericsson defending for his life Newgarden swept past up the back straight and clung on to take the chequered flag. The Team Penske driver sprinted into the crowd to celebrate his long overdue victory, with Santino Ferucci finishing third and pole sitter Alex Palou - who was bizarrely crashed into by Rinus Vikay in the pit lane during the race - carving his way back to fourth place.

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Meanwhile Callum Illot finished as best of the Brits in 12th, with Jack Harvey in 18th and Katherine Legge the first to retire from the race on lap 41.

Anyone else reckon F1 should have an oval race?

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Photography: Penske Entertainment

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