INDIANAPOLIS – The road to Victory Circle wasn’t easy for Josef Newgarden.
He had to climb 16 spots after starting 17th in the field; only Eddie Cheever (1998) and Floyd Davis and Mauri Rose (1941) have managed wins from the 17th spot. It was the lowest starting position for a winner since Ryan Hunter-Reay won from 19th on the grid in 2014.
Newgarden led five laps; only two Indy 500 champions led fewer laps (Joe Dawson led just two laps in 1912 while Dan Wheldon led just one lap in 2011).
Newgarden won his 12th career Indy 500 start. He tied two other champs—1957 winner Sam Hanks and 2013 winner Tony Kanaan—for the most starts before winning in event history.
His previous best performance in the 500 came in 2016, when he placed third for Ed Carpenter Racing.
The 2023 race marked only the third time a last-lap pass led to victory. The other two were just as memorable: Sam Hornish passed Marco Andretti late in 2006 and Dan Wheldon zipped by J.R. Hildebrand to win the 2011 race after Hildebrand crashed into the wall.
Newgarden’s win marked the fourth-closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history with a margin of victory of .0974 of a second. Only three other finishes were closer:
- 1992: .043 of a second Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear
- 2014: .0600 of a second Ryan Hunter-Reay over Helio Castroneves
- 2006: .0635 of a second Sam Hornish Jr. over Marco Andretti
This year’s race saw 52 lead changes, best for third in Indy 500 history. The 2013 race holds the record with 68 lead changes, followed by the 2016 race, which featured 54 of them.
There were 11 lap leaders who finished on the lead lap, beating the previous record of nine set in 2011.
A few other race notes, via the NTT IndyCar Series:
- Santino Ferrucci finished third, marking his best performance in five 500 starts and giving A.J. Foyt Racing its best finish since 2000, when Eliseo Salazar took third place
- It was the first 500 with three competition-related red flags, not involving weather
- Benjamin Pedersen was the top-finishing rookie after placing 21st
- Helio Castroneves climbed to second place in Indianapolis 500 career miles completed at 10,995, trailing only A.J. Foyt, who has 12,272.5 career miles.
- Castroneves completed the full 500-mile distance for the 17th time in his Indianapolis 500 race career, extending his race record. He has been running at the end of the race in 21 of 23 career starts
- Six former winners led the 2023 Indianapolis 500, surpassing the prior race record of five set in 1980, 1981 and 1993. The six former winners to lead in 2023: Marcus Ericsson, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Will Power and Helio Castroneves