Josef Newgarden wins the Indy 500, defeating Marcus Ericsson

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Joseph Newgarden won his first Indy 500 championship on Sunday.



CNN

Joseph Newgarden won the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 in a wild finish Sunday after three crashes in the last 16 laps. The American driver overtook last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson in the final lap.

A triple red flag crash during the race set up a dramatic finish, It saw 52 lead changes between 14 drivers.

When the checkered flag finally waved after nearly three hours, Newgarden took his first Indy 500 victory — but it took a lot of drama to get there.

In a terrifying scene with 16 laps to go, Felix Rosenqvist got loose and climbed into the wall. As Kyle Kirkwood tried to avoid the spinning Rosenqvist, he clipped the corner of Rosenqvist’s car.

Kirkwood’s car crashed into a wall, overturned, and skidded to a stop, sending sparks flying across its roof. The race was red flagged, but none of the drivers were seriously injured.

In a horrific twist, Kirkwood’s rear wheel came loose from its safety bar in the crash, scraped the catch fence and flew into the crowded grandstand, sending fans scrambling for cover.

A tire fell in a parking lot and damaged at least one car, but no injuries were reported in the incident, according to NBC’s broadcast.

Mark LeBrick//USA Today/Reuters

Joseph Newgarden celebrates after winning the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Eight laps later, Pado O’Ward, Simon Paganot and Agustin Canapino were involved in a serious crash that brought out another red flag.

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With four laps remaining and Newgarden leading, another crash occurred on the restart in a start-finish line that included Benjamin Pedersen, Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal, and the race was red-flagged again.

Erickson had He passed Neugarten on the restart just minutes before the caution flag came out, meaning Ericsson would be at the front of the line on the race’s final restart.

A lap later the green flag waved again, and Ericsson chased down Newgarden early on. But Newgarden caught up to Eriksen and took a slingshot past him directly to the back to restore the lead.

From there it was smooth sailing to the finish line at Newgarden where he slipped through the fence to celebrate among the spectators before heading to victory lane for the traditional winner’s bottle of milk.

“I’ve always wanted to go into the crowd at Indianapolis,” Newgarden said in a postrace interview on NBC’s broadcast. “I’ve seen people climbing the fence. I wanted to go through the fence and celebrate with people.”

Helio Castroneves tied the Indy record four times, climbing the fence for each victory and earning the nickname “Spiderman”.

The winner said he was emotional during the final 10 laps of the race.

“I know we’re in a position to fight for this win, it’s not going to be easy,” Newgarden said. “(It’s) not easy to win this race, it’s the hardest race in the world to win.”

Fierce racing brought drama to the pit lane before Newgarden’s win.

It started on lap 95 when race pole sitter Alex Palo exited the pit lane.

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Rinus VeeKay lost control of his car and crashed into Balo, pushing Balo’s car into the wall.

Paulo’s pit crew had to pull the car back into his pit box to test it.

Baloo had to make another pit stop to replace his front wing after the collision. He dropped from sixth place to 28th place.

There were also a couple friendly fire incidents between teammates on pit line.

Christian Lundgaard drove through the pit box next to his teammate and hit one of his teammates who was waiting for a tire change. Lundgaard hit the spare tire and hit the track.

Then, Colton Herda, who was running fifth at the time, pulled out of his pit box prematurely and crashed into the side of teammate Romain Grosjean’s car, knocking himself out of contention for the win.

Dubbed the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500 — named for the number of miles raced in a race to complete 200 laps — is one of the world’s best-attended single-day sporting events.

More than 300,000 people were expected to watch 33 IndyCar drivers zoom around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 2.5-mile oval track.

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