Saturday, June 15, 2024

2024 Indianapolis 500 results: Josef Newgarden wins his second straight Indy 500 with last-lap pass

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Josef Newgarden has won the 108th Indianapolis 500, prevailing in a thrilling duel with Pato O’Ward on the final lap to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the second year in a row. Newgarden is the first driver in over 20 years to win back-to-back Indianapolis 500s, matching a feat that was last accomplished by Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002. It also marks the 30th victory of Newgarden’s IndyCar career.

Newgarden won after withstanding the advance of Pato O’Ward, who took the lead from Newgarden at the white flag and attempted to drive away, snaking down the backstraightaway in an attempt to break Newgarden’s draft. But it was to no avail, as Newgarden was able to close on O’Ward by the entry to Turn 3, passing him on the outside and then driving back to the Yard of Bricks to the checkered flag.

The win comes after Newgarden had been embroiled in a scandal surrounding Team Penske following the opening race of the IndyCar season at St. Petersburg, Fla., in which the team was discovered to have illegally modified their cars’ push-to-pass system, giving them an extra boost of horsepower on starts and restarts in violation of the system controlled by IndyCar race officials. The infraction led to Newgarden being stripped of the victory — interestingly, giving O’Ward the win — and suspensions to multiple members of the Penske team, including team president Tim Cindric.

Despite that, Newgarden was able to earn Penske their 20th Indianapolis 500 win and vindication for both himself and his race team.

“They can say whatever they want after this point — I don’t care anymore,” Newgarden told NBC Sports. “I’m just so proud of the team. They crushed it, I mean, crushed it. They came here with the fastest cars, we worked our tails off … I’m just so proud of everybody for Team Penske. That’s the way I wanted to win the thing right there.”

Newgarden’s triumph comes after a long day at Indianapolis that saw the start of the race delayed four hours due to rain that passed through the area. The storms severely altered the Indy-Charlotte Double attempt of NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Larson, who elected to commit to racing his first Indy 500 at the cost of starting NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Larson ran well inside the top 10 after a fifth-place qualifying effort, but he would incur a mid-race pit road speeding penalty that relegated him to an 18th-place finish. Back at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Justin Allgaier started the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in Larson’s stead.

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