Two-time IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden won his first Indianapolis 500 in the 107th edition of the race on Sunday.
Newgarden was participating in the race for the 12th time and became the first American driver to win the race since 2016.
“It’s just not an easy place to succeed at,” Newgarden told ESPN. “I don’t necessarily subscribe to the fact that if you don’t win the 500, your career is a failure, but I think a lot of people view this race and this championship with that lens.”
Newgarden took the lead on the final lap, passing defending champion Marcus Ericsson and holding on for the fourth-closest win in the race’s storied history amid a chaotic last 16 laps that included three restarts due to crashes.
Newgarden took the lead on the second restart and was placed in the second spot after a review as the race relaunched for a third time.
“I thought it was [an] unfair and dangerous end to the race,” Ericsson said as he spoke with NBC Sports following the finish. “I don’t think there [were] enough laps to do what we did, and we’ve never restarted from the pits.”
Newgarden’s win is also the first for Team Penske since team owner Roger Penske bought the race track, and the win adds to the owner’s record 19 victories at the Indy 500.
“We always want to win this place, but 2019 was the last time that we had won and somebody else owned the place before,” Penske president Tim Cindric told ESPN. “I apologize it’s taken four years.”
The Indianapolis 500 was not the only big race during Memorial Day weekend.
The NASCAR Cup Series held the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., which had to be postponed to 2 p.m. CT on Monday due to rain. The additional races that were scheduled for Sunday as part of the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway also were moved to Monday.