Josef Newgarden wins back-to-back at Indy 500, pulls away from Pato O’Ward in final lap

Josef Newgarden was victorious for the second consecutive year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he overtook Pato O’Ward in the final lap to win the Indy 500. 

Newgarden was also the winner of the 2023 Indy 500, so he became just the sixth driver in the 200-lap race’s history to go back-to-back and the first since Helio Castroneves, who did it in 2001 and 2002.

The fans who waited through a delay due to weather had quite an exciting finish to watch as the white flag was waved with O’Ward, one of two Arrow McLaren cars chasing Newgarden along with Alexander Rossi, overtaking the Team Penske driver for first place as they began the final lap. 

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Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske, celebrates after winning the 108th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, 2024. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

O’Ward had the tires and fuel after his final pit stop on lap 172, while Newgarden went to the pit three laps earlier.

He created a small gap to start the final lap, but Newgarden was waiting patiently behind him to make the right move.

O’Ward had Newgarden right behind him, and the latter popped out to the right and kicked it up a notch to retake the lead. 

That was the nail in the coffin.

Newgarden hit a straightaway and once again pulled away from the competition. Coming around the final turn, he was waving his hand in the air, knowing he had captured the coveted race again as the checkered flag waved.

Josef Newgarden runs Indy 500

Josef Newgarden drives during practice at Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 24, 2024. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Newgarden was seen jumping into the stands to celebrate with the fans, drinking in their cheers and affection.

As Newgarden celebrated the victory, O’Ward was seen back with his Arrow McLaren crew in the pit, and he was clearly distraught. O’Ward, the 25-year-old Mexican driver who came close to victory in the two previous runs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, slumped his head over his vehicle as his team consoled him.

Newgarden began the race in third position as Team Penske owned the front row, with teammates Scott McLaughlin and Will Power in first and second, respectively.

O’Ward, who started in eighth, finished second, and Sean Dixon, who began the race in 21st, finished third. Rossi and Alex Palou rounded out the top five.

Josef Newgarden drinks milk jug

Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning the 108th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, 2024. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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Newgarden celebrated with his crew in victory lane, drinking the traditional milk jug as he earned another Indy 500 victory in his career.

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