Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden was honored for his second consecutive victory in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge with a second winner’s trip to New York.

Newgarden, who played baseball growing up, threw out the first pitch for the New York Mets’ game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night at Citi Field. The Team Penske driver had previously thrown out first pitches at home games of the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals.

Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden also rang the opening bell at NASDAQ, as he did following his 2023 “500” victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Newgarden won this year’s race with his second straight last-lap pass, this time overtaking Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward with a decisive outside move in Turn 3. Newgarden became just the sixth driver in history to win the “500” in back-to-back years.

While in New York, Newgarden appeared on SiriusXM’s “Beadle and Decker” on Mad Dog Sports Radio, the “Speed Street” podcast with Conor Daly and Joey Mulinaro, “Brick by Brick” with Jack Arute and Tony Kanaan, and had visits with WPIX, CNN World Sport, and Motorsports Network.

There also was a stop at the Empire State Building for a photo opportunity.

Newgarden collected a winner’s share of $4.288 million, including $440,000 from BorgWarner, the sponsor of the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy, for being the first back-to-back winner since Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002, as part of the $18.456 million overall purse. Both figures are event records.

The 33-year-old driver from Nashville, Tennessee, said he’s already thinking about becoming the first driver to win Indy three straight years. Newgarden’s boss, Roger Penske, who has a record 20 such wins, apparently is thinking the same.

“Everybody thought he wants 20 and that’s his (goal), but he’s going to be, ‘OK, how do we get to 21?’” Newgarden said. “He might even say something silly like, ‘We’ve got to get to 25’ or something.

“I just love it; I love his mentality. We’re always moving forward.”

NBC’s broadcast of the “500” realized an 8 percent increase year over year, with an average of 5.344 million viewers on NBC and Peacock. That’s up from 4.927 million in 2023 and 4.837 million in 2022. Last weekend’s race peaked at 6.46 million viewers in the final 15 minutes of the race as Newgarden and O’Ward dueled for the win. Their separation at the checkered flag was .3417 of a second.

NBC said it was the most-streamed NTT INDYCAR SERIES race ever with an average of 286,000 viewers across Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms. It also was NBC Sports’ most-watched Sunday sports event since an NFL playoff game Jan. 21.

After severe weather forced a four-hour delay, officials allowed Central Indiana consumers to view the race live, delivering an 18.15 household rating and 54 share.

The 200-lap race featured 649 on-track passes, the most in the “500” since 2017.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES resumes this weekend with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. Sunday’s 100-lap race on Detroit’s downtown streets airs live at noon ET on USA Network, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.