(Josef Newgarden with The Borg-Warner Trophy - Winner Photoshoot - By: Doug Mathews)
No matter how the race finishes, unless it is with the leader by a full 30 seconds or so, some people will complain about a conspiracy- because it was too close. And if the winner is that highly advanced from the pack, some people will complain about an obvious winner and the lack of competition from the other drivers.
Today's sob in the media over who won the Indy 500, like what the AP is running today- talking about controversies and conspiracies- are stories about someone winning. Period.
Listen- they need to sell clicks. Someone won and 32 others lost. Let the sob stories begin.
For Jenna Fryer of AP to write this in her latest column: "Sure, it’s an automobile race. But it’s also very much entertainment, even if Marcus Ericsson vehemently disagrees." on the eve of Newgarden winning his first Indy 500, feeds the negative.
Newgarden did so much more than entertain the crowd. He won the race that was before him. He got his car over the finish line first in one of the closest races in history. Other races were closer- believe it or not. Have people stopped crying about that yet?
That is what the sport is; it is a race to finish under any circumstance.
While all of the competitors of the race are top athletes and there were many cars on the track who COULD have won- Josef Newgarden got ahead of Marcus Erricson on what the officials called the final lap- after Erricson knocked Pato O'Ward out and caused a third restart, after a third red flag- and he won.
Roger Penske isn't an IMS official. That was their call. Penske provided the stadium, the preshow, and some teams but didn't make the race rules.
It is what it is.
IMS officials do not like to end a race with a Yellow Flag, mostly because the fans who go to the race hate that. That has always been the call- if they can make it. Everyone knows and understands that going into the race.
Marcus Ericcson, who finished second, is frustrated- of course, he is- even Newgarden said in his post-race interview that he - himself- would have been frustrated if he were Ericsson and just lost.
Ericsson is a great race car driver, he is a champion, and he is very hard to pass- let's be honest.
Pato OWard was pretty frustrated at Ericcson for causing a problem, too, remember? Ericsson crushed O'Ward into the grass, and O'Ward could have won on Sunday as well.
But Pato is not talking about a conspiracy he is talking about getting back to some racing. Things didn't go his way on Monday and he is also an excellent racer.
Some people are mad at Ericcson:
"Ericcson in his bullshit gave Pato the most brutal character development anyone has ever seen in Indy, and damn my mother if she doesn't charge them in an epic way.
@PatricioOWard in his revenge was all we needed," the tweet reads in English.
Ericcson had a lot to lose, including almost an extra half a million dollars from Borg-Warner Trophy- which would have paid him for back-to-back victories.
These are very competitive men we are talking about. Racing is very competitive. The sour grapes and sob stories is not something great for the sport.
Of course, Ericcson is mad- racers are very focused humans. But for anyone to be attacking Penske over the call the IMS made is childish. Penske has done a lot to create a very positive vibe for race fans, who are the ones ultimately who build the popularity of racing so that the sport can even exist at all.
Because he has done so much for motorsports in general- he is hated with a jealous rivalry. That is not good for motorsports, but it does sell clicks. It also helps to degrade American racing overall.
There are a lot of Formula One drivers, team owners and speedway owners who see Indy as something they would like to conquer - so why not stir up a little controversy and get people pissed off? Right?
Newgarden won, the crowd was excited at the spectacle, and all of the drivers were greatly appreciated and well respected. Some of them left unhappy that their guy or gal didn't win. That happens every single year.
The Indy 500 is hard to predict because many winners have made it to the podium due to the timing of flags, the sequence of accidents, and other drivers getting penalties. That is Indy. That is why it is hair-raising.
It is how it works, and fans know that.
What I see is that the AP is trying to stir up resentment among fans because that is how the organization get views. They like the crashes and the fights; they like to make people angry and frustrated.
But the win for Newgarden was solid. The IMS officials made the call; Newgarden was the first one over the yard of bricks with the checkered flag.
That is racing y'all.
Here is some other news- Newgarden got a huge purse on Monday night, and a fantastic competitor was named Rookie of the year.
From NTT IndyCar:
The Indianapolis 500 purse record was shattered for the second year in a row after a monumentally successful 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, with race winner Josef Newgarden of Team Penske earning $3.666 million from a total purse of $17,021,500.
After record-breaking payouts in 2022, this is the largest purse and largest winner’s payout in the century-plus history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The year’s average payout for NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers was $500,600, which also exceeds last year’s average of $485,000.
In 2022, the Indianapolis 500 purse was $16,000,200 and the year’s winner payout was $3.1 million. Prior to 2022, the largest Indianapolis 500 purse was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indianapolis 500.
Second-place finisher Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing took home $1.043 million, exceeding the take-home prize for last year’s second-place finisher.
“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment President and CEO Mark Miles said. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”
The Month of May was full of major milestones as Indianapolis Motor Speedway welcomed more than 330,000 fans to the Racing Capital of the World for Sunday’s race, making it the second-largest Indianapolis 500 crowd in more than two decades.
A.J. Foyt Enterprises’ Benjamin Pedersen earned Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors for his performance during the Month of May. Pedersen earned a $50,000 bonus for being named Rookie of the Year, adding to a total take-home prize of $215,300.
The Indianapolis 500 purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NTT INDYCAR SERIES awards, plus other designated and special awards. Purse awards are presented annually at the Victory Celebration, held this year at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis Monday night.