Indianapolis 500: Josef Newgarden prevails in crash-filled finish

INDIANAPOLIS — It was the race that did not want to end.

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The 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 was marred by three red flags over the final 14 laps before Josef Newgarden won at the 2 1/2-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Sunday.

Newgarden, 32, a two-time IndyCar champion, won his first Borg-Warner Trophy, edging 2022 winner Marcus Ericsson of Sweden in a dramatic finish after the race had been halted by a red flag with two laps remaining.

Newgarden’s victory extended Roger Penske’s record of 19 wins at the Brickyard.

Santino Ferrucci finished third, giving the A.J. Foyt racing team its best finish since 2000. Rounding out the top five were polesitter Alex Palou and Alexander Ross.

Newgarden earned his first victory at Indianapolis in his 12th attempt, according to the Indianapolis Star. He tied Sam Hanks (1958) for the most starts for a first-time champion.

Newgarden slingshotted past Ericsson on the back stretch of the final lap, employing the “Dragon” move that last year’s winner used to take the checkered flag, according to the newspaper.

He celebrated by scooting under a fence and joining fans in the stands, paying tribute to longtime Team Penske driver and four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves by scaling the fence. He then took a traditional sip of milk in the winner’s circle. He then doused himself with the rest of the milk.

With six laps to go, Pato O’Ward crashed after losing control and spun into the outside wall. O’Ward had just been passed by Newgarden for the lead. The race was red-flagged for the second time.

There was a scary crash with 15 laps to go involving Kyle Kirkwood and Felix Rosenqvist. Kirkwood flipped upside down and one of his tired sailed into a nearby parking lot, hitting a parked car.

Amazingly, there were no injuries.

Kirkwood was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

Singer-songwriter Jewel performed the national anthem and “Star Wars’” Kylo Ren, actor Adam Driver, was the honorary starter for the race, according to USA Today. The grand marshal was Disney’s “Encanto” star, actress Stephanie Beatriz.