Indianapolis 500 Recap: Newgarden Finally Wins at 14-1 Odds, Tire Flies Into Crowd

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:

If it’s Memorial Day (or the day before) in the United States, it’s the running of the Indianapolis 500. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was once again held (107th edition) this past Sunday. It was indeed another spectacle.


There are always some big stories before/during/after the race, and the winner is only one of them. Here is a look at those storylines.

Newgarden Finally Wins

The 2023 Indianapolis 500 was being billed as one of the more competitive editions of the races. There wasn’t much separation between these drivers. Less than 2½ qualifying seconds separated the pole sitter and the last car, and it certainly played out that way.

When the dust settled, it was Josef Newgarden who came away with the checkered flag, winning his first-ever Indy 500. It seemed a Newgarden win at the Brickyard was inevitable, but the 32-year-old hadn’t obliged.

There were more than 300,000 fans in attendance. Newgarden had a huge celebration after holding off Marcus Ericsson over the final two turns. It was a 19th win at the Indy 500 by the Roger Penske team, which is only fitting since he owns the track.

Known as one of the best drivers in IndyCar, Newgarden hasn’t been driving very well over the last few weeks. Seen as an afterthought (odds of +1400) entering the event, he was able to get past the other drivers to win the title.

Tire Into Crowd

There always seems to be at least one big wreck during the Indianapolis 500, and it’s always a scary scene. That was the case again Sunday, a perilous event involving the fans as well.

Kyle Kirkwood was in trouble during the race, car flipping through the air. Kirkwood wasn’t the issue (he was alright), but a key piece of his ride was unattached.

A Kirkwood tire was sent flying over the fence, into the area of spectators. Landing on a parked car, it also left pieces of the car strewn all over the track.

Immediately under a red flag, all debris had to be removed before continuation of the race.

Ericsson Not Happy

While the majority of the drivers in the Indy 500 field seemed to understand why the red flag was out, that wasn’t the case with Marcus Ericsson. Ericsson still felt he was still in a position to win before the red flag.

Instead of a traditional finish to the biggest race of the season, it was a one-lap sprint that went to Newgarden. Ericsson was out to win his second consecutive Indy 500, but unable to keep pace with Newgarden after the reset of the race.

There’s a chance to have drivers challenge the decision by the group overseeing the race. Ericsson isn’t planning to go that route. Acknowledging that he was disappointed after the race, however it appears the bulk of the drivers were happy with how the issue was handled.

Safety is always the priority, and not just with the drivers. Since this (Kirkwood) incident involved fans as well, those in control of the race had more than the oval to consider.

Ericsson’s issue was that he was the only other car who had a legitimate chance to win.

Turning to the Formula 1 schedule, Max Verstappen is the odds-on favorite to win Sunday’s race, according to Spanish Grand Prix odds.

Verstappen is also prohibitively puny, as in -1600, to win the title this season, as per F1 driver championship odds.

The next IndyCar event is the Streets of Detroit, going this Sunday.

- Dan Shapiro,

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