Indianapolis 500 winners

Do something long enough, history has a chance to repeat itself. Friday’s One Stop to Start Pit Stop Challenge was the first time since 2017 that Scott Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda team wasn’t in the finals of the annual Indianapolis 500 pit stop competition.

That year, Team Penske’s Will Power toppled James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.

Friday, Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet crew took down defending winner Dixon in the semifinals advancing to the best of three championship match against Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske pit crew.

The heavyweight matchup witnessed Team Penske winning its record-extending 19th One Stop to Start Pit Stop Challenge, as driver Newgarden earned his second win in the prestigious annual contest between the best Indianapolis 500 pit crews. It was the first win for Team Penske and Newgarden since 2022.

“I want to thank everybody back at the shop,” said Chad Gordon, Newgarden’s chief mechanic/outside front tire changer. “We have a lot of people behind us that let us do what we're doing. Without them, we're not up here. We have guys working on our guns, working on our upper rights to make sure the nuts go on easily. Those guys are the real champions here, it's not just us.”

Newgarden and Team Penske earned the victory by beating O’Ward in the best-of-three final round, sweeping the first two rounds.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Newgarden entered the pit box in the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet and Team Penske changed four tires and simulated fueling in 11.333 seconds in the first round, edging O’Ward and the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet crew’s time of 12.121 for service.

In the second round, Team Penske and Newgarden completed its stop in 10.792, the quickest of the entire contest. Arrow McLaren and O’Ward trailed at 12.647.

Newgarden’s crew earned a $50,000 prize for the victory, while O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren crew earned $25,000 for its runner-up finish.

Members of the winning team: Gordon, chief mechanic/outside front tire changer; Caitlyn Brown, inside front tire changer; Kyle Lapier, inside rear tire changer; Keenan Watson, outside rear tire changer; Derrick Ruppert, fueler; Tom Jones, air jack. Brown is believed to be the first female crew member to be a part of the winning team.

“It's just show up and do what everyone else does, try to be my best,” Brown said. “It's so cool to win something for Roger (Penske), especially at IMS.”

Newgarden’s crew knocked off Alexander Rossi’s No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team in the opening round, then the top seed and leader of the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award standings, No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet (Power), in round two. In the semifinals, Newgarden toppled Romain Grosjean’s No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet pit crew to advance to the finals for the second time in three years.

The last team to win the Pit Stop Competition and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year was Team Penske in 2009 with Helio Castroneves. That’s something Newgarden is hopeful to avoid Sunday.

Blue Jacket Tradition Starts for ‘500’ Winners

Twenty-three of the living 30 Indianapolis 500 winners were on hand Friday morning to take a group photo on the Yard of Bricks with the Borg-Warner Trophy.

The drivers donned a navy blue blazer reserved for “500” winners only, similar to green jacket presented to winners of The Masters. The left breast of each blazer contains the famous “Wing and Wheel” logo, and the lining inside each coat features photographs of each driver’s winning moments.

“Beautiful new tradition,” 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti said. “I'm lucky to be part of this elite group,” he said.

Fittipaldi Auctioning Race Day Suit

Pietro Fittipaldi, driver of the No. 30 5-hour ENERGY Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, is auctioning his Race Day driver’s suit from the upcoming 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 to benefit The Helda Gerdau Institute, a charity supporting families affected by the recent floods in Fittipaldi's home country of Brazil.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul has experienced devastating floods, displacing more than half a million families and causing an estimated $5 billion in damages. All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the institute to aid in relief efforts.

The auction includes the race day suit Fittipaldi will wear during the Indy 500 on May 26, as well as during Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear the following weekend on June 2. The suit will be autographed by Fittipaldi and will come with a certificate of authenticity. The auction closes Monday, May 27.

For more information or to place a bid, visit

Blomqvist Enjoying First Oval Experience

Tom Blomqvist said his first foray into oval racing has been an “experience.” The Meyer Shank Racing rookie said he’s living in teammate Castroneves’ shadow, heeding all the advice the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner is willing to provide.

Blomqvist said the best advice given by Castroneves is to tackle the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval by taking it step-by-step and respecting the place.

Blomqvist completed 391 overall practice laps in his No. 66 AutoNation/Arctic Wolf Honda, the most among 34 drivers.

“I’m feeling more confidence and more comfortable,” Blomqvist said. “I’ve never done anything like it. I went out last week and was like, ‘Whoa, whoa.’ I’ve never driven around here with other cars. I’ve only kind of been by myself.”

That’s an adjustment for any driver.

“Every lap getting into traffic, I’m trying to learn the gaps,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing.”

Blomqvist qualified 25th with a four-lap average speed of 231.578 mph. This week, the boost levels were tuned back to race levels, and Blomqvist likes the way his car feels. The chassis Blomqvist is driving is the same one in which Castroneves won his record-tying fourth “500” with in 2001.

“The reason he wanted a new one is because he thought that one was slow,” Blomqvist said. “He's the boss. It's cool we're racing that chassis. If that was a winning car, that's pretty special, in a way.”

Simpson Feeling Confident with Bourdais’ Tutelage

Kyffin Simpson has done everything asked of him in his rookie NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has completed 359 out of 360 laps this season.

Simpson climbed to finishes of 12th in St. Petersburg, 19th in Long Beach, 14th at Barber Motorsports Park and 15th in the Sonsio Grand Prix around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“I think it's been a good season,” Simpson said. “I think with a couple of things going our way at a couple of different races, maybe we could have had some better results, but if that's a lot of ifs, buts and maybes. So, with what we've got, I'm pretty happy with it.”

Simpson acknowledges his qualifying pace has been a weak point, but he feels more comfortable in races every time he slides into the No. 4 Journie Rewards Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Part of expediting that comfort level for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge was four-time INDYCAR SERIES champion Sebastien Bourdais serving as Simpson’s driver coach.

Bourdais, co-driver of the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series R for CGR in sports car competition, is no stranger to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s a nine-time veteran of the “500,” with his last start coming in 2021. His best finish is seventh in 2014 with KV Racing Technology.

 “I have a great relationship with the team and the engineer, Danielle (Shepherd), who was with us on the IMSA program the past two years, and Chris (Wheeler, race strategist) was my spotter for many years – my best friend in the U.S. – so I came along to help out at St. Pete,” Bourdais said. “It went well, and it seemed like a good fit.”

Bourdais has shared plenty of wisdom with Simpson, especially the importance of paying attention to details.

“This place is like a mistake magnet,” he said. “It never fails; there’s always something that doesn’t go to plan. So, you’re always trying to keep focused on the program for the day and not get too ahead of yourself.

“It’s like at the airport – if you see something, say something. That’s what I want to get across so as to not put him and the organization in a difficult position. And when the time comes, help guide him to not make mistakes that you’ve made in the past and to steer him in the right direction.”

Simpson hasn’t turned the wheel wrong all month. He starts 18th with a four-lap qualifying average of 231.948.

Ericsson Proud of Indy 500 Helmet

Marcus Ericsson last Sunday squeaked his way into the 33-car field for Sunday’s 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The 2022 “500” winner and last year’s runner-up to Newgarden crashed last Thursday and used his veteran prowess to put together a four-lap qualifying run in the closing minutes three days later to put his No. 28 Delaware Life Honda for Andretti Global in the field, starting 32nd.

In rough times, Ericsson’s Indy 500 helmet kept a smile on his face. It features art from patients at Riley Hospital for Children in downtown Indianapolis.

“This Month of May it's very special for me to have the Riley helmet with the kids’ artwork on it and paintings,” Ericsson said. “So, this is a really nice thing. I've been living here in Indianapolis, you get sort of involved in a community here, and to see what Riley does and how important that is for me to help out in some shape or form with that. I think it's been it's been really special.”

Foyt Publicist Honored with Robin Miller Award

Anne Fornoro, the longtime publicist of AJ Foyt Racing, was honored Friday with the annual Robin Miller Award for dedication to the sport. Fornoro, a Long Island native, worked her first “500” in 1984 and has led all of public relations work for A.J. Foyt and his team for nearly 40 years.

IMS PR Senior Manager Wins Jim Chapman Award

Suzi Elliott, IMS’ senior manager of media relations, was announced as the winner of the Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations. She is the 33rd recipient of the award that is considered the highest honor in racing PR.

Elliott is working her 19th “500” this month.

Purdue Aligns with Dallara

Purdue University’s nationally renowned motorsports engineering program in Indianapolis has a new home with an internationally recognized motorsports manufacturer. Purdue announced an innovative partnership with Dallara, the largest multinational Italian race car manufacturer, to house its motorsports program at Dallara’s U.S. headquarters in Speedway, Indiana.

Just steps from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the new facility will house space for classrooms, hands-on training and diagnostic testing for Boilermaker students studying in the only ABET-accredited motorsports engineering undergraduate program in the country. Many Purdue graduates from the program in Indianapolis have gone on to careers with motorsports manufacturers like Dallara, as well as in series such as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, IMSA and NHRA.

Odds and Ends

  • 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud was back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not only was he here for the past “500” winners’ photo but Pagenaud was on NTT P1 Award winner Scott McLaughlin’s pit stand donning headsets. Pagenaud has close ties with the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet team, including race engineer Ben Bretzman. The tandem shared success with Bretzman engineering Pagenaud’s 2019 “500” victory.
  • Seven of the last 10 Indianapolis 500 winners landed in the top 10 of the speed charts on Miller Lite Carb Day, including six of the last eight.
  • The Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy was on the grounds Friday. Fans were able to get a close look and take pictures.