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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not do a yearly economic study on the money the Indianapolis 500 brings into the area, but, at the last check, the city’s tourism arm postulates this year’s total was upwards of $300 million.

Visit Indy, in some years, has found the tally has reached as high as $330 million.

Nate Swick, the senior communications manager with Visit Indy, told News 8 on Tuesday that the money spent this year would be on par with years past. “The last one they did said we bring in $300 million from this event alone, so it’s a healthy nine figures no matter if it’s that or it would be more than that if anything.”

Many amenities around the city were at capacity because of the race. “The hotels downtown are at a virtual sellout. Hotels downtown, it’s hard to get a reservation. It might take a little longer to get an Uber,” Swick said.

Surrounding counties also could benefit from tourism dollars, Swick said. “The Indianapolis 500 obviously impacts downtown more than anything else, or the town of Speedway more than anything else. But it not only impacts downtown, Speedway, but it is hard to get a hotel room in any of our suburbs. It pushes out to our doughnut counties, and most of our doughnut counties are at a virtual sellout as well.”

Swick said Indianapolis International Airport had a record-breaking weekend for air travel this year.

“This is our biggest international event of the year as well, so we get more international visitors for this event than we do for any other event year-round,” Swick said.

Swick said the team at Visit Indy describes the Indianapolis 500 as the area’s yearly Super Bowl.

“If you’re in Indianapolis during race weekend, you can feel it. It’s a great way to kick off the summer here in Indianapolis. It’s a start to that summer tourism, summer travel.”

Swick said central Indiana will get a double tourism boost next year with the NBA All-Star Game in February and then the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The sixth and final episode of “100 Days to Indy,” a look at the IndyCar Series during the 2023 Indianapolis 500, is set to air at 9 p.m. June 8 on WISH-TV and the CW Network.

Expect a one-hour or two-hour end to the series.

On Thursday, the hourlong series premiere will re-air on WISH-TV at 9 p.m. The premiere episode looks at the rivalry among members of Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing during the first races of the IndyCar season.

Stream earlier episodes of “100 Days to Indy” on The CW website. The finale named “The Big Dance” will be online June 9.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — It’s called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” because the Indianapolis 500 is supposed to be one of the most dramatic and difficult races in the world.

Sure, it’s an automobile race. But it’s also very much entertainment, even if Marcus Ericsson vehemently disagrees.

The controversial ending to the 107th running of the Indy 500 gave Josef Newgarden the win, and Newgarden drives for Roger Penske, who owns the race and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So when IndyCar went to an unprecedented one-lap shootout that allowed Newgarden to win the race, well, Ericsson was furious and conspiracy theorists went wild.

Ericsson, looking to become the first back-to-back Indy 500 winner in 21 years, was the leader when a crash brought out the yellow flag. IndyCar ran three laps under caution before deciding to throw the red flag for an Indy 500-record third time, stopping the race for cleanup for the third time in the final 16 laps.

Ericsson wanted the race to end under yellow, with the Swede declared the winner, and was furious with IndyCar’s decision to set up a 2.5-mile sprint around the track to decide the biggest race in the world.

And, if IndyCar was going to throw the red, then Ericsson felt the series wasted two laps under caution — which created the situation in which the cars came off pit road to take the green and white flags at the same time.

Some found it all a bit suspicious.

Newgarden, after all, is a featured star in “100 Days to Indy,” the docudrama about the race produced by Penske Entertainment. And he won a race at the track owned by his boss because of a ruling by race control never before seen quite the way it was executed until Sunday.

Newgarden dismissed his win being scripted or aided by the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Where does it stop? When is it too comfortable a scenario for Roger owning the track and Roger’s car winning the race?” Newgarden told The Associated Press on Monday. “I don’t think he will ever win that battle. Someone is going to find reason, whenever, to bring us down.

“I have so much respect for Roger,” Newgarden continued. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who cares more about integrity than Roger Penske.”

Penske said after the race that he’s tried to divorce himself as the speedway and IndyCar owner from competition decisions that affect the series and his race team. He spent decades on the timing stand for dozens of winning Penske drivers, but since purchasing the speedway and series at the start of 2020, he has shifted his focus from competition.

Yet he noted that under Penske leadership, tradition has shifted away from purity to trying to ensure the 300,000-plus spectators see a race to the checkered flag.

“I had nothing to do with (the red flag), obviously,” Penske said. “We have a group that is certainly the officials of the track, and to me, we’ve said this before, I think all of you had said, we want to see a checkered flag, not a yellow flag.”

In 107 years, the Indy 500 has ended under the yellow flag or red flag (for rain) just 19 times, but 10 of those endings have been since 2000. Since Penske’s first 500 as owner in 2020, both last year and this year have had late red flags to set up a race to the finish.

There was no red flag in 2020, when the race ended under caution and was won by Takuma Sato as helpless Scott Dixon had to stay in line with no chance to try a late pass for the win. Dixon, a six-time IndyCar season champion but only one-time winner of the 500, said this week that the defeats that end under caution are the ones that bother him most.

IndyCar said in 2020 there weren’t enough laps remaining to stop the race for a final restart following a crash with five to go; four years later, the series now thinks two laps is enough for a red flag.

Tony Kanaan won in 2013 under caution, and even though he’s one of the most popular winners in track history, he recognized that some found the finish of his crowning achievement anticlimactic. Kanaan on Sunday sympathized with Ericsson and third-place finisher Santino Ferrucci because of the odd one-lap shootout but insisted it was best for the fans.

“Guys like Santino and Marcus are mad, and you have Josef that’s happy. But we need to think about the show,” Kanaan said. “The biggest complaint we have every year was we shouldn’t finish a race under the yellow. That’s going to hurt someone. Actually 33 guys are pissed right now and one guy is happy. That’s the reality.

“Could have they have called (the red) earlier? Yes. Could have, should have, would have, but we ended under green, and that’s what the fans kept asking us every time. I won under yellow, and everybody hated it at some point.”

Ericsson is angry — and rightfully so — but he shouldn’t be surprised that IndyCar wanted the race to end under green. His complaint actually should be how many laps were wasted before deciding to stop the race and a lack of standard guidelines from the series as to how red flags will be applied universally going forward.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Josef Newgarden celebrated his first Indianapolis 500 win Sunday night.

He cashed in Monday at the race’s annual victory dinner.

The two-time IndyCar champ earned a record $3.666 million for the biggest win of his career, an increase of more than $500,000 over last year’s race winner, Marcus Ericsson. Newgarden’s win also extended Team Penske’s record total to 19.

Indy’s total purse of $17,021,500 also broke last year’s mark by more than $1 million.

Race organizers estimated more than 330,000 attended the race. It was the second-largest race-day crowd since 2000 though actual attendance figures are not announced.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment President and CEO Mark Miles said in a statement. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Ericsson took home $1.043 million as the runner-up after coming up just short to be the first back-to-back 500 winner since Helio Castroneves in 2001-02. If the race finished under yellow instead of a final lap restart, Ericsson would have collected an additional $420,000 from BorgWarner. Ericsson is in a contract year with Chip Ganassi Racing and has said he would like to stay with the team.

Benjamin Pedersen continued A.J. Foyt Enterprises big month as he was selected as the race’s rookie of the year. He collected $215,300, including a $50,000 bonus for the award. Pedersen’s teammate, Santino Ferrucci, made the six-car pole shootout and finished third in the race — the best showing by a Foyt driver since 1999.

Ferrucci is the only driver who has completed all 200 laps and posted a top-10 finish in each of the past five 500s.

The average payout for Sunday’s race was $500,600, which also topped last year’s average by more than $15,000.

Video from this story is from News 8 at 5 p.m. May 29, 2023.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Here are some of the most popular stories after Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, plus a couple of new interviews that happened Monday.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — In the slow buildup to the Indianapolis 500, Josef Newgarden talked openly about having to put on a brave face when he would arrive at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and how so many failures in the race that mattered most had weighed on him.

On Monday, Newgarden showed up wearing a smile.

He had passed Marcus Ericsson in a last-lap sprint to the finish a day earlier, and was back at the mostly empty speedway for all the spoils. He chatted with team owner Roger Penske, who got his 19th victory but first since purchasing the track, and posed for countless photos on the yard of bricks. William Behrends, the sculptor who will craft Newgarden’s face on the Borg-Warner Trophy, took reference images, and Newgarden later sat in a chair and fiddled with the Indy 500 ring on his finger.

“Each year gets tougher when you run it 12 years in a row. It just gets harder and harder to leave here with a broken heart,” Newgarden told The Associated Press. “You know, everybody that doesn’t win the race, I believe, ends up with a broken heart, or at least I have left every year just shattered, and you got to build yourself back up really quickly and keep going.

“So you know, I just removed it from the equation that it had to happen,” Newgarden continued. “It’s because maybe if it doesn’t, that’s OK. My career wouldn’t be a failure. I don’t feel that way. And I don’t think anyone else should.”

Still, there was a palpable sense of relief when Newgarden took the checkers, stopped his car at the flag stand and found a hole in the fence — he’d noticed it there years ago — and crawled under to celebrate with fans on the front stretch.

It wasn’t only Newgarden who had been putting on a brave face for the Indy 500. It was the entirety of Team Penske, the gold standard in IndyCar, but whose 18 — ahem, now 19 — triumphs in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” began to seem long ago.

In the four years since Simon Pagenaud reached victory lane on a dominant day for Team Penske, with Newgarden and Will Power joining him in the top five, there had been a pandemic that shut down the world; Penske had closed on his purchase of IndyCar and the speedway; and teammates had come and gone from the organization.

Newgarden has been a mainstay, though, ever since joining Power to become a cornerstone of the team in 2017, when he arrived from Ed Carpenter Racing and promptly won the series title. Newgarden added another IndyCar title two years later.

Yet the Indianapolis 500 had eluded him.

He finished eighth in 2018, fourth the next year and fifth in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the race to be run in August. The last two years? Newgarden failed to finish in the top 10, joining the rest of Team Penske in struggling on race day.

“I’m still in the camp that the championship is tougher,” Newgarden admitted after dousing himself in milk and kissing the yard of bricks Sunday. “But I don’t know how you compare the two. You’re looking at one standalone versus a championship, and putting a championship together is, I think, very, very difficult. You really see the best rise to the top. You see the best team, the best pit-stop performance. Consistently it adds up over a year, and it’s very difficult to do that.

“This is the single-most difficult race in the world to win,” Newgarden added. “I’ll stand by that. There’s no doubt.”

That he even had a chance to win Sunday would have been surprising a week earlier, when Newgarden struggled again with qualifying. He was solidly in the field but stuck near the middle of the pack, so he made a bold decision to take his time off the board and go again. The risky gamble wound up being a wash; Newgarden still started in the middle of the sixth row.

He had a quiet race, too, steering clear of trouble over a mostly forgettable first 180 laps.

The drama began with a red flag a few laps later, the first of three that IndyCar threw before the finish. But it was the last one that spurred controversy. Ericsson was leading the race and thought he had won when the yellow flag was flying with two laps to go. Instead, the cars were pulled down pit road and brought to a stop to set up a one-lap shootout.

Ericsson said later he disagreed with the decision, calling it unsafe to take green and white flags simultaneously on the first lap out of the pits. Newgarden was just thankful for a chance — something that had eluded Scott Dixon and many others who were forced to ride around under caution and watch someone else take the checkered flags.

“I’m happy they did it to give a good finish,” Newgarden said.

One that had the crowd of more than 300,000 on its feet. Ericsson held the lead through Turns 1 and 2, watched Newgarden slip around him on the backstretch, then made a bold snake-like move out of Turn 4 to hold him off the win.

As he was finding a hole in the fence to celebrate with fans, Penske and the rest of the team was celebrating. Over near his pit box, Newgarden’s wife, Ashley, crouched down with her face in her hands and cried.

“She’s probably got the toughest job in our family, not just because she looks out for everything else and helps make my world go ‘round, but she sees the negative impact — she sees the heartbreak — more than anyone else. She knows what that’s like,” he said. “I’m just happy we were able to finally win it. She knows that, too.”

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — IndyCar owner Roger Penske says he is certain series officials will investigate what led to a wheel coming loose during a crash in the Indianapolis 500, which ended up sailing over the catch fence and grandstands before landing on a parked automobile.

“We haven’t had a wheel come off in a long time,” Penske said. “We were very fortunate we didn’t have a bad accident.”

The cars are supposed to have a tether that keeps the wheel attached even in the event of a wreck. But when Felix Rosenqvist hit the wall in Turns 1 and 2 in the closing laps Sunday, and Kyle Kirkwood launched off the rear of his car into the catch fencing, the wheel went soaring over the fence and the corner of the grandstand before landing in the parking lot.

The wheel traveled about 350 yards before crushing into the front of a fan’s parked Chevrolet. With a crowd of more than 300,000 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a full grandstand in Turns 1 and 2, it was fortunate nobody was injured.

“I saw what happened, saw it bounced on top of a building and went and hit a car over there, which obviously is very concerning,” said Penske, whose driver Josef Newgarden won the race, giving Team Penske its 19th Indy 500 victory.

Penske closed on the purchase of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway about three years ago.

“We have tethers on the wheels, and it was a rear wheel that came off,” Penske said after Sunday’s victory celebration, “and I’m sure the guys at IndyCar will look at it, will determine what really happened.”

During the 1987 Indianapolis 500, one fan was killed when a tire flew into the top row of the grandstands. It had come off Tony Bettenhausen’s car, then bounced off the front of Roberto Guerrero’s car, before landing among the fans.

During a 1998 race at Michigan International Speedway involving CART — which later became part of IndyCar — Adrian Fernandez crashed and a tire and other parts flew into the stands. Three fans were killed and six others were hurt that day.

The next year, three fans were killed and eight injured at Charlotte Motor Speedway when a tire and other debris flew into the stands during an Indy Racing League event. The race was canceled, and IndyCar has not returned to the speedway.

Those incidents resulting in the development of the tethers that are supposed to keep the wheels attached.

The owner of the Chevrolet that took the brunt of the damage Sunday was Robin Matthews, a race fan from Indianapolis. Her car, which she calls “snowball,” had to be towed away because of the damage. She was treated with a chance to kiss the yard of bricks, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles gave her a lift home.

IndyCar said one person was struck by other debris from the crash but was checked and released from the infield care center.

“I was in this turn,” tweeted John Green, an author from Indianapolis. “Hugely relieved everyone appears to be OK. Watching a wheel fly over my friends at 150 miles per hour is not an experience I’m anxious to repeat.”

Rosenqvist and Kirkwood also were uninjured in the wreck, though the latter went on quite a ride. Kirkwood went airborne after contact and landed upside down against the wall, skidding several hundred yards as sparks flew from his car.

“That’s the scary part,” Kirkwood said. “You’re upside-down and you’re kind of stuck at that point.”

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — 2023 Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden and his team were out on the Yard of Bricks Monday morning to take their official winner photos.

The 107th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” had race fans at the edge of their seats as Newgarden edged out the defending race winner, Marcus Ericsson, in a dramatic finish.

Take a look at these winning photos! 📷

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Many race fans are still recovering from Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, but it’s never too early to get a head start in securing tickets for next year.

Each year fans witness unforgettable action at the Racing Capitol of the World, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

For fans to ensure they will continue to experience the magic of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” they will need to renew their tickets before the Tuesday, June 20, deadline.

Those that take advantage of the renewal period will also have priority for ticket upgrades and are eligible to buy tickets and wristbands for other Month of May events at the lowest prices possible. Those products include:

Prices will increase when tickets go on sale this fall, and again in 2024 before each event.

Anyone interested in renewing or upgrading their Indy 500 tickets can do so online, by calling 317-492-6700, or by visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office.

“More than 325,000 fans filled IMS on Indianapolis 500 Race Day for the biggest and most memorable celebration of all that is May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “Whether 2023 was your first trip to IMS or your 50th, we encourage you to renew or request an upgrade for seats by June 20 to reserve their spots for next year for another great celebration of speed and tradition.”

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 2023 Indianapolis 500 is in the books, with Josef Newgarden edging out defending race winner Marcus Ericsson to take the checkered flag for his first-ever “500” victory.

Here are a few other fast facts from the 107th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”!