‘It was winning or nothing’: Josef Newgarden talks with WSMV after winning Indy 500

Newgarden: None of this could have happened without a great team and a great car.
Just after his first Indy 500 win, Hendersonville native Josef Newgarden sat down with Chris Harris about what it took to win.
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 11:35 PM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2023 at 6:51 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - In his 12th attempt at the Indianapolis 500, Josef Newgarden finally broke through.

The Hendersonville native passed Marcus Ericsson on the final lap to claim the victory at the sport’s hallowed track.

Just after his win, Newgarden talked with WSMV4′s Chris Harris about that exciting finish.

“For me, I was here with the attitude that we were winning, or we were putting the car in the wall,” Newgarden said. “I didn’t care what the other result was. It was winning or nothing.”

Newgarden said there was no way he was walking out of there without going for it.

“That’s what the Indy 500 is all about. You either win the race or you didn’t, and you leave here with a broken heart,” Newgarden said.

Newgarden got his chance after three red flags in the race’s final laps put him in position with one final lap.

“For a one-lap shoot-out, second was a good spot,” Newgarden said.

“If I had a little better launch, I probably would have tried to pass them in turn one. But I didn’t. I had to wait for the back straight,” Newgarden said.

Newgarden’s move to the front came on the heels of a day when he began the race in the 17th position. But, he remained patient and picked his spots to gain ground.

“By lap 50, I think we’re, you know, pretty much near the top five,” Newgarden said. “So year, it was all coming together really nicely.”

The win is the 19th Indy 500 victory for team owner Roger Penske.

“I’m really thankful to drive for a team like Team Penske, that gets the details right because details are what matter on a day like this,” Newgarden said.

After winning the race, Newgarden ran up into the stands and into the crowd to celebrate his victory.

“I have always dreamed of being able to go into the crowd here,” Newgarden said. “The energy level here is like nowhere else in the world. You won’t find this level of people in this type of energy, so I really wanted to be a part of that.”