(CNN) — Josef Newgarden won the 107th race of the Indianapolis 500 in a thrilling finish Sunday after three crashes in the final 16 laps. The American driver overtook last year’s winner, Marcus Ericsson, on the last lap.
A trio of red flag crashes set up a dramatic end to the race.
When the checkered flag was finally waved, it was Newgarden who took their first Indy 500 victory, but getting there required a lot of drama.
In a terrifying scene with 16 laps to go, Felix Rosenqvist broke free and slid into the wall. As Kyle Kirkwood tried to stop Rosenqvist from spinning, he hit the corner of Rosenqvist’s car.
Kirkwood’s car slammed into the wall, flipped over and came to rest on its roof with sparks. The race was red flagged, but neither driver was seriously injured.
In a terrifying twist, Kirkwood’s rear wheel came off its seat belt in the accident, jumping over the fence and flying over the crowded grandstand, sending spectators to safety.
The tire fell in a parking lot and damaged at least one car, but no injuries were reported in the incident, according to the NBC show.
Eight laps later, Pato O’Ward, Simon Pagenaud and Agustín Canapino were involved in a heavy crash which triggered another red flag.
With four laps to go and Newgarden leading, there was another crash on the restart just at the start-finish line involving Benjamin Pedersen, Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal, and the race was again red flagged.
Ericsson overtook Newgarden on the restart moments before the warning flag came out, meaning Ericsson would be in the lead for the final restart of the race.
The green flag waved again with one lap to go, and Ericsson initially extended his lead over pursuer Newgarden, but the latter caught Ericsson and immediately passed him to regain the lead.
It was a smooth ride to the finish line for Newgarden, who slid through the fence to celebrate among the onlookers before heading to victory lane to receive the traditional winner’s bottle of milk .
CNN’s Eric Levenson, Issy Ronald, Thomas Schlachter and Don Riddell contributed to this report.