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Ex-Supercars engineer wins Indy 500

FORMER Supercars engineer Luke Mason has become the latest Australian motorsport graduate to taste major success in the United States.

Mason this morning (AEST) guided Josef Newgarden to victory in the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Having cut his teeth at Supercars teams Stone Brothers Racing and Erebus Motorsport – including being race engineer for Will Davison’s sole Mercedes win at the 2015 Perth SuperSprint – Mason’s first US gig came with NASCAR squad Richard Childress Racing.

RCR, coincidentally, is the team which Erebus has now forged a link with via ex-Image Racing staffer Andrew Dickeson.

Mason switched to IndyCar in 2018, initially with Carlin Motorsport, before being signed by Team Penske ahead of last season.

He was this year promoted to be race engineer for two-time IndyCar champion Newgarden.

It didn’t take long for the partnership to gel, victory coming in Round 2 of the season at Texas Motor Speedway.

But the Indy 500 is the biggest race of all, and one which Newgarden and Mason have now conquered together – albeit by the skin of their teeth.

Newgarden pipped Marcus Ericsson by just 0.0974s to deny the Swede a second straight win in the famous event, with Santino Ferrucci third.

“You spend your whole life working towards achieving this one goal, and having done it now, I’m speechless,” Mason told RACER.

“It’s such a good crew, this group of people; not just the #2 car or the #3 or the #12, but the whole crew. Everyone back at the shop; it’s been a big goal.

“It’s no secret that we haven’t done well enough here at the Speedway.

“Coming into this year after a championship victory last year, it was priority number one to get Roger’s 19th win.”

An emotional Newgarden thanked his team post-race, his best prior result in the 500 being the third place he took for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2016.

“I was trying to put it off that, you know, it’s not going to define a career winning a race here,” he said.

Pic: Josef Newgarden Twitter

“But everyone seems to want to make it a defining moment, and for me, you know, it’s impossible but I look at it that way and then I’m elated to finally get it to work out… I will never forget this.”

Three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, a teammate of Newgarden, started and finished 14th.

“It just didn’t seem like it was the Thirsty Three’s day today,” said McLaughlin.

“We had a great car, and it’s always a privilege to drive the Pennzoil Yellow Submarine here at Indianapolis for Team Penske.

“Massive congratulations to Josef and his crew. He was a very determined driver all month and he deserved the win today. I’m sure I’ll get a chance to celebrate with him later.”

Mason’s former SBR colleague Shane van Gisbergen will race in the US this July, making his NASCAR Cup Series debut for Trackhouse Racing in Chicago.

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