Among active drivers, no driver has more IndyCar victories without an Indy 500 win than Colton Herta. And he has never won an oval race.
It allowed him to finally scratch his name off the list of active IndyCar drivers without an Indy 500 victory.
With 26 wins heading into Sunday’s 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the driver of Team Penske’s No. 2 Chevrolet was 19 wins clear of the next driver on that list.
In fact, the 23 other non-Indy 500 winners in the race only have 35 career IndyCar victories combined.
Needless to say, Newgarden’s Indy 500 win was a long time in the making, and it was certainly one of the more popular wins the speedway has seen in recent years.
The winningest active driver without an Indy 500 win is now a driver who hasn’t even won an oval race since his career began in 2018 (full-time in 2019). And that is Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta.
Herta has seven career IndyCar victories to his name, including at least one in each of his first four seasons in the sport. But he has never finished higher than eighth place in the Indy 500. A potential top five run was derailed on Sunday with a pit lane incident and subsequent penalty, but he rallied to finish in ninth.
Herta is one of 10 drivers in Sunday’s Indy 500 who have at least one IndyCar win to their name, but not an Indy 500 win.
Sitting behind him on the list is Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s — or in Sunday’s case, Dreyer & Reinbold/Cusick Motorsports’ — Graham Rahal, who has six victories. He hasn’t won a race since 2017.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou has five wins while Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward and Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin all have four. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Ed Carpenter has three and Andretti Herta Autosport’s Marco Andretti has two, while Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, and Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood all have one.
Suffice it to say that Newgarden is happy to be off of that list. He has is happy to no longer have to answer questions about why he hasn’t yet won the Indy 500.
“I think they ask that to a lot of people, at least that’s what it seems like if you’ve been around a while and haven’t won it,” Newgarden told Beyond the Flag after finally crossing his name off the top of the list. “There are multiple drivers; that’s sort of the way it’s looked at.”
Newgarden even went as far as saying that he felt people viewed him as a failure, despite his 26 wins and two championships, without an Indy 500 win. He had been closing in on Michael Andretti’s all-time record of 42 wins without an Indy 500.
Aside from Andretti, the only two drivers ahead of him on that list were Sebastien Bourdais (37 wins) and, yes, Paul Tracy (31). Now he is tied for 14th on the all-time wins list, and he is tied for 11th among Indy 500 winners.