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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Josef Newgarden finally captured his long-awaited Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and gave team owner Roger Penske his 19th and first since buying Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making an audacious pass of defending race winner Marcus Ericsson during a frantic 2.5-mile sprint to the finish.
After the race was red-flagged for the third time in the closing laps, Newgarden was moved from fourth to second by race control. The two-time IndyCar champion, who had been 0 for 11 in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” took advantage of it by slingshotting around Ericsson on the restart and then holding him off through the last two turns for the win.
Newgarden brought his Chevrolet-powered car to a stop on the front stretch, jumped out and found a hole in the fence, diving into part of a crowd estimated at more than 300,000 to celebrate. Then he climbed the fence to mimic longtime Team Penske driver and four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves.
Ericsson finished second in a Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. He was followed by Santino Ferrucci, who gave 88-year-old A.J. Foyt his team’s best finish in the race he won four times since Kenny Bräck won it in 1999.
Pole sitter Alex Palou, the race favorite, was fourth for Ganassi and Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five for Arrow McLaren.