Motorsport News

Newgarden building legacy with instant-classic Indy 500 win

Newgarden building legacy with instant-classic Indy 500 win

SPEEDWAY, Indiana — It thundered. It rained. It rocked. Precisely four hours after the green flag was meant to wave over the field of 33 drivers at the 108th Indianapolis 500, an instant classic was authored from the opening lap as a record-setting 18 leaders spent time up front in the spotlight over the 200-lap thriller.

Delayed by a menacing storm, the dinnertime Indy 500 saw the checkered wave as 8 p.m. ET approached, and in those long evening shadows, more than 300,000 spent and weary fans stayed and took stock of the unhinged action that turned a beloved race into an adrenaline-depleting affair.

Crashes, blown engines, rampant aggression — including multiple 200-mph trips into the grass — ruled the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Three drivers failed to make it through the first corner on the opening lap. Honda motors trailed smoke and stranded three more. Veterans Marco Andretti, Colton Herta, and Will Power also smacked the walls as general mayhem meant 47 laps were burned behind the safety car across eight caution periods.

And after each instance of madness was cleaned up, the restarts were where indelible memories were made. Fanning four wide or wider into Turn 1 drew as many cheers as gasps; the risks taken by champions and rookies alike were shocking. It was a gift to the throngs of fans who waited through the long delays.

Mexico’s Pato O’Ward, IndyCar’s most popular driver, commanded the loudest roar as he took the lead in the closing moments, and as more wild swings of fortune were revealed, he was left a tearful, crestfallen mess as his lead was surrendered with two turns left to complete. There’s no taste more bitter in motor racing than the one experienced by the 500’s first loser.

O’Ward, his eyes red from another runner-up result at Indy, was nearly inconsolable. A life so nearly changed in perpetuity, felled by a 0.3417-second deficit at the finish line.

“It’s been a tough month,” O’Ward said after matching the second place he earned at Indy in 2022. “So much goes into this race. I’m somebody that wears my heart on my sleeve. I don’t really hide anything. It’s just when you’ve come so close and it just doesn’t seem to — you just can’t seem to get it right, it’s just a lot of emotion.”

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