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Back-to-back: Josef Newgarden wins the Indianapolis 500

Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The white flag waived. Josef Newgarden and Pato O’Ward were side by side crossing the bricks with just one lap remaining. O’Ward made his move and jumped ahead just before Turn 1. He stretched out the lead on Turn 2. It looked like he was going to get his first Indianapolis 500 win.

Until Turn 3. That’s when Newgarden made his final move. He went wide and zipped around O’Ward. That was the last lead change of the day. Newgarden zoomed through the bricks in first place, making him the first back-to-back Indianapolis 500 winner since Hélio Castroneves in 2001-2002.

“You just can’t leave anything on the table,” Newgarden said.

“We capitalized at the end,” he said. “We had such a fast car. You can’t win this race without a fast car, and this team had it.”

Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon rounded out the podium in second and third place, respectively.

“You just can’t time when you make those moves,” O’Ward said. “It was the last lap, and in hindsight, I would say ‘Go one straightaway later.’ I’m sure one day it’ll happen. It’s just really making me work for it.”

Newgarden’s victory capped off a dominant Indy 500 for Team Penske. This win marked their 20th win in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” They also swept the first row in qualifying, with Scott McLaughlin winning the pole. Will Power qualified in second and Newgarden was in third.

“They are the best that I’ve ever worked with,” Newgarden said. “I know their integrity. I know their character, and we focused on what we do.”

It was not the smoothest running of the race. There were six crashes throughout, with the biggest one happening on the first turn of the first lap. Tom Blomqvist spun out, causing a three-vehicle crash with Marcus Ericsson and Pietro Fittipaldi. All three of them did not return to the race. Linus Lundqvist, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Power, and Colton Herta all crashed as well. Herta was the only one to return to the race.

There were also three cars to have engine issues, all of which were Honda cars. Marcus Armstrong, Katherine Legge, and Felix Rosenqvist all exited early in the first 100 laps.

Despite a near four-hour rain delay, the grandstands and the infield were still packed throughout all 200 laps of the race.

Kyle Larson finished in 18th. Due to the rain delay, he was not able to make it to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Coca-Cola 600 in time to successfully complete all 1,100 miles of “the double.”

Newgarden’s winning time was 2:58:49. He lead for 26 laps. His teammate McLaughlin lead for the most amount of laps with 64.

There were 16 different leaders and 48 lead changes, but after Lap 200, it had the same ending as last year, with Newgarden climbing the fence.