Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi

In the end of Sunday’s 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, both Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi battled for a second Indianapolis 500 victory, but the pursuit fell short.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden earned his second “500” victory instead. Newgarden passed second-place finisher Pato O’Ward on the final lap for a second consecutive walk-off win in thrilling fashion in front of a raucous crowd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dixon finished third in his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda while Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, brought his No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet to the finish line fourth.

“We unfortunately didn’t have the fuel of the other cars,” Rossi said after leading 12 laps. “We couldn’t stay out front and kind of had to fall back in the running order to hit the fuel number to get to the end of the race. We just came up short.”

Rossi said his third consecutive top-five finish left him with mixed emotions because he wouldn’t have changed anything of how the 200-lap race went other than the result.

Rossi finished where he started but 2008 Indy winner Dixon climbed 18 spots to secure the his third top-three finish in his last seven “500” starts.

He described his day as a bit of a roller coaster but was proud of the effort.

“We gave it everything,” Dixon said. “Honestly, I feel good because I didn’t leave anything on the track. The only way we were going to win was if the two in front took each other out.”

Dixon said his race car was better than those of Newgarden, O’Ward and Rossi but said his Honda engine paled to the power produced compared to Chevrolet, saying the bowties were in a “different category.”

Dixon trails Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou, the defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, by 20 points heading into next Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.

Rasmussen Top Finishing Rookie Driver

Christian Rasmussen was the top-finishing rookie in his No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Sunday. Rasmussen climbed 12 spots to finish 12th.

“It was amazing,” Rasmussen said. “It was such a cool experience. I think we just did an amazing job today overall, just hanging back when we needed to be, aggressive when we needed to, and we were able to move forward. I've never run a superspeedway before. I've only done short ovals. I'm super, super happy with the performance we put on today.”

Rasmussen raced at Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway in INDY NXT by Firestone, but the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway was his first taste of these high rates of speed.

“We are encouraged,” Rasmussen said. “Ed Carpenter Racing is known for having super-fast cars at the Speedway, so I'm super glad that we could capitalize on that. It also gives us some great momentum for the rest of the season. Today definitely makes me hungry to do it again.”

Larson Would Love To Return

Kyle Larson’s maiden NTT INDYCAR SERIES start was filed as a deep learning experience. He brought his No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet home 18th.

The finishing result wasn’t indicative of how well he truly raced.

The top-qualifying rookie among the seven first-year Indianapolis 500 drivers to show up this month started fifth in the rain delayed 200-lap event.

Larson dropped from fifth to 14th following an early-race restart that left him befuddled after he missed a gear. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion steadily climbed through the running order the rest of the way before a speeding penalty on his Lap 131 pit stop.

“I would definitely love to be back next year,” he said. “Feel like I learned a lot throughout the race. I made a couple of mistakes early with the restart.

“Definitely feel good about knowing what I would need different on the balance coming back to help runs. Obviously smoked the left front into the green flag stop and killed the opportunity. Wish I could have executed a different race. Never know what would have happened.”

Early Race Attrition

Rookie drivers have accounted for 10 race wins in the 108-year history of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, with only three since 1967. In that span, three drivers scored their first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES win in the Indianapolis 500 – Arie Luyendyk (1990), Buddy Lazier (1996) and Alexander Rossi (2016).

That’s why it wasn’t shocking that among the six rookie participants in the 33-car field, half were out of the race by Lap 27.

Meyer Shank Racing rookie driver Tom Blomqvist sparked a four-car crash in the opening lap of Sunday’s 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Blomqvist spun at the exit of Turn 1 in his No. 66 AutoNation/Arctic Wolf Honda and collected 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson. Both cars make hard contact with the SAFER Barrier in the south short chute, but neither driver was hurt.

In a separate incident while trying to evade the melee, two-time “500” starter Pietro Fittipaldi made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 after car-to-car contact with Callum Ilott.

“I’m just so disappointed for the guys,” Blomqvist said. “Haven’t made a single mistake all month long and then a scenario like that at the start.”

Blomqvist made the same mistake Ericsson and rookie Linus Lundqvist made in each of their respective practice crashes last Thursday by getting too low in the corner and clipping the curb, triggering the spin.

Lundqvist was the second casualty on Lap 28 when he made right side contact with the SAFER Barrier in his No. 8 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after racing four-wide into the corner in Turn 1.

Between the pair of early race crashes, rookie Marcus Armstrong was out with a mechanical problem on his No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on Lap 6.

Kirkwood Shines on Tough Day for Andretti

Kyle Kirkwood brought his No. 27 AutoNation Honda for Andretti Global across the Yard of Bricks seventh at the finish. He led two laps, the only time an Andretti Global driver paced the 33-car field despite a record 18 different drivers out front.

The 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge continued another string of disappointments for the organization.

Ericsson’s aspirations of climbing from the last row lasted one corner when he was a casualty of Blomqvist’s mistake.

"I can't believe it," Ericsson said. “It's so frustrating. I don't know what to say. We had to work so hard. The team did such a good job rebuilding that car. We fought all last weekend. We fought all week, and this happens. I can't believe it."

Ericsson is the latest example on how cruel IMS can be sometimes. The 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner and last year’s runner-up finisher to Josef Newgarden leaves the Month of May with a last place result (33rd).

Marco Andretti crashed on Lap 113 in his No. 98 MAPEI/Curb Honda and finished 25th. Colton Herta found the wall on Lap 86 in his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda and then retired on Lap 170, finishing 23rd.

At one point, Andretti Global won three “500’s” in a four-year span between 2014-17. The team is 0-for-7 since.

Odds and Ends

  • The 649 on-track passes today were the most since there were 871 in the 2017 Indy 500.
  • NTT P1 Award winner Scott McLaughlin led 64 laps but finished sixth in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, making the 12th time in the last 14 years that the driver who led the most laps didn’t win. He’s the first driver since Dixon finished second in 2020 to lead the most laps and finish in the top 10.
  • Among Newgarden’s last 15 wins, 11 have come on ovals. He was 4-for-5 last year and starts 2024 1-for-1.
  • McLaughlin came into the Month of May with an average finish in six races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during this month of 17.83. In the 47 races outside the month, his average finish is 7.36. McLaughlin finished sixth in both the May 11 Sonsio Grand Prix and the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
  • Coming into Sunday’s 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Chip Ganassi Racing led 392 of the last 800 laps in this race. It led 16 of 200 laps Sunday, 12 by Dixon, four by rookie Kyffin Simpson (No. 4 Journie Rewards Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) and one by Palou (No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda).
  • Sunday was the 15th time in the last 16 Indianapolis 500’s that the race winner was at least 30 years old. The last three winners were 31 (Ericsson), 32 (Newgarden) and 33 (Newgarden), respectively.