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Josef Newgarden leading the Indy 500

Source: Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment / Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — It was one of the craziest finishes in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It started as a one-lap shootout after a late wreck forced a red flag to try for a green flag finish. Entering the final turn, Josef Newgarden had the lead and in a desperate attempt to keep it, held his steering wheel to the left a little longer exiting turn four.

The move saw Newgarden duck below the dotted pit entry line along the start of the front straight, and then suddenly jolt back to the right back up onto the racing surface. A perfectly legal move at the time.

The idea was to break the aerodynamic draft behind him so Marcus Ericsson could not have a late run to try and steal the win from his grasp at the last second. You may remember something like that happening in 2006 when Sam Hornish, Jr. spoiled what could have been an Indy 500 win for Marco Andretti.

Last year’s race will be the only time you ever see that move pay off. For the upcoming race this year, IndyCar has banned moving below the dotted pit entry line at any point during the race other than to pit.

IndyCar president Jaye Frye said that they plan to “police” that line more closely for this year’s race. Frye also clarified that Newgarden did absolutely nothing wrong by 2023’s rules. But, it would be wrong if he or any other driver were to do it again going forward.

“This is the right move for the future,” Newgarden said in a post on X. “Boundaries are meant to be pushed, and rules are meant to push back! You should expect to see additional rule changes that will help reign in other driving standards at Indy, without removing the ability for drivers to race hard.”

What those other rule changes Newgarden refers are remain to be unpacked. This particular rule change was undoubtedly a topic of discussion when IndyCar leaders and veteran drivers met during the off-season back in January the week of IndyCar Media Days.

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