SOME DRIVERS SEE RED
There were three red flags during the final 15 laps as race control tried to give fans a green-flag finish in 200 laps.
But the last red flag left defending 500 winner Marcus Ericsson seeing red because he believed a one-lap shootout wasn’t the proper way to determine the winner of the Indianapolis 500.
With just two laps remaining, when the red flag was lifted, the cars left pit lane, ran three-quarters of a lap, the pace car pulled off and the green and white flags waved.
Team Penske’s Newgarden outmaneuvered Ericsson, timing his winning pass down the backstretch on the final lap to win his first Indianapolis 500.
Newgarden defeated Ericsson’s No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda by .0974 seconds, the fourth-closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history.
“I don’t think it’s fair to do it; I don’t think it’s safe to do it,” Ericsson told SPEED SPORT after the Indy 500. “I stand with that.
“There were not enough laps to do it. I know we want to have a green-flag finish and that is great for the fans and fantastic, but with that last crash, there were not enough laps to do what we did in my opinion. We did everything, and Josef is a worthy champion, but that was not a fair way to end it.”
NO. 19 FOR PENSKE
Roger Penske not only owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he also owns the winningest team in Indianapolis 500 history.
Newgarden’s triumph was Penske’s record-extending 19th Indianapolis 500 win.
“You need to read the rulebook that says they will do everything they can to finish the race under green,” Penske said. “And No. 1, I’ve never been in race control since we took over the track. I have no impact on that and I hope people realize that.
“I’m smart enough to realize we have to win it fairly and squarely. We could have finished second, we could have finished third.
“It was our green-white-checker, we had a green then a checker.”
Other drivers in the field believe there needs to be some consistency with the way the red flag is used in an effort to provide a green-flag finish.