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Josef Newgarden celebrates winning the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Al Steinberg photo)

Indy 500 Takeaways: Big Crowds, High Speeds & A New Winner


It took Josef Newgarden 12 attempts before he finally won the Indianapolis 500. That ties him with Sam Hanks in 1957 and Tony Kanaan in 2013 as the longest period for a driver to win his first Indy 500.

The 32-year-old racer from Nashville, Tenn., became the first American to win the 500 since Alexander Rossi visited victory lane in 2016. It was also Newgarden’s 27th IndyCar Series victory, the most wins by any first-time Indy 500 winner.

A crowd estimated at 330,000 looks on as the field rolls away from the grid for the 107th Indianapolis 500. (Dallas Breeze photo)

“I don’t necessarily subscribe to the fact that if you don’t win the 500 your career is a failure, but I think a lot of people really view this race and this championship with that lens, that the 500 stands alone, and that if you’re not able to capture one, then the career really is a failure in a lot of ways,” Newgarden said. “It’s impossible to not recognize that or to absorb that from people when you’re here, and I just didn’t know if circumstance would ever work out where it would really come to be where we could win the race.”

When the opportunity developed to win the Indianapolis 500, Newgarden, who started 17th in the 33-car field, was determined to capitalize on it.

“Today, we had an opportunity to win the race and I wasn’t looking to take anyone else out of the race, but I was going to put my car on the line to win,” Newgarden explained. “I was either going to win the race or I’d end up in the wall. I wasn’t here to finish second, third or fourth today. I was here to win.

“I just did everything I could at the end.”



Any event that has been run 107 times has its ups and downs, ebbs and flows, glory days and down times, but the Indianapolis 500 is back on the upswing. A new generation of younger fans has found its place alongside those who have been coming to the Indianapolis 500 for decades.

It’s the younger fans who will continue the tradition of making the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the place to be on Memorial Day weekend and if this year’s crowd is any indication, the future looks much brighter than it did just a few years ago.


This story appeared in the May 31, 2023 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.


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