In the high-stakes world of motorsports, there are races, and then there’s the Indianapolis 500. This year, the “500” was a riveting display of speed, strategy, and sheer willpower, with a triumphant Josef Newgarden taking home his very first win in the iconic event.
A native of Tennessee, Newgarden has made history as the first person from the Volunteer State to win the Indianapolis 500. This victory, all the more impressive considering Newgarden started from the 17th position – the lowest starting spot for a winner since 2014, comes after 12 attempts at the prestigious event. His grit and determination finally paid off, bringing him to the coveted top spot on the podium.
Newgarden’s win also added to Team Penske’s record tally, marking their 19th win at the “500”, further cementing their dominance in the competition. And with car No. 2, this marks the 10th Indy 500 victory for that number, a streak that started with Juan Pablo Montoya back in 2015.
Interestingly, this year’s event had an unusually high number of lead changes – 52, to be exact, only third to the record of 68 set in 2014. It was also only the third time that the “500” was decided by a last-lap pass, adding to the suspense and thrill of the race. Another high was the 14 different drivers who led at least one lap on Sunday, tying the 2013 record for the second-most ever.
Newgarden’s victory wasn’t the only headline of the day. Santino Ferrucci’s third-place finish represented the best Indianapolis 500 result for AJ Foyt Racing since the year 2000. At the same time, Benjamin Pedersen turned heads as the top-finishing rookie in 21st place.
One of the unique aspects of the 2023 race was the three competition-related red flags, a first for the Indy 500. These interruptions, not related to weather conditions, added a unique twist to the proceedings.
Meanwhile, the legendary Helio Castroneves continued to add to his remarkable Indy 500 resume. The Brazilian driver climbed to second place in terms of career miles completed at the event, with a staggering 10,995 miles, trailing only behind A.J. Foyt’s 12,272.5 miles. Castroneves also holds the record for completing the full 500-mile distance, achieving this feat for the 17th time in his career.
The 2023 Indianapolis 500 was a race of many firsts, records, and unforgettable moments. From Newgarden’s maiden victory to Team Penske’s continued dominance, this year’s event has firmly carved its place in the annals of motorsport history.
The Indianapolis 500 is more than just a sporting event, is an amalgamation of culture, entertainment, and high-speed thrills. This year, the race’s aura was amplified by the presence of popular culture icons who graced the event. The honorary starter for the race was none other than acclaimed actor Adam Driver, lending a touch of Hollywood glamour to the occasion.
Preceding the roar of the engines, multi-platinum singer Jewel stirred the emotions of the crowd with her beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Adding a patriotic feel to the occasion, New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base also contributed four F-16 Vipers for a spectacular flyover, a sight that left spectators awestruck.
While high-speed action unfolded on the track, Turn 3 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway morphed into a vibrant festival of sound and rhythm. Known as the Indy 500 Snake Pit, this corner of the Speedway became the ground zero for one of the most electric EDM parties in the country.
Headlining the party was renowned DJ Kaskade, whose spirited set had attendees swaying to everything from original tracks to sing-a-long classics like “Sweet Caroline” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” The energy of the crowd remained high even in the face of a last-minute cancellation from DJ Diesel, also known as basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal.
Despite Shaq’s absence due to his commitments with the NBA finals, the entertainment quota at the Snake Pit was kept intact by the talented Los Angeles DJ Valentino Khan. His electrifying performance ensured that the spirits of the attendees stayed high, offering a musical extravaganza that perfectly complemented the high-octane racing on the track.
The 2023 Indianapolis 500 proved to be a grand celebration of speed and entertainment, illustrating the unique charm of this legendary event. From celebrity appearances to heart-stopping musical performances, the “500” once again confirmed its status as an unforgettable spectacle.