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Josef Newgarden
Indy 500 Winner Newgarden Unveils Image on Borg-Warner Trophy

2023 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Josef Newgarden unveiled his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy on Dec. 15 in Indianapolis, one of the most significant honors since he won his first Indy 500 on May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Newgarden, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, earned his first victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet. This was the 19th Indy 500 victory for Team Penske.

The unveiling ceremony took place at the Stutz Museum. Located in downtown Indianapolis, the Stutz Museum is a boutique car museum showcasing rare classic cars alongside Indianapolis automotive history.

The bas-relief, sterling silver image of Newgarden is the 110th face to be affixed to the iconic trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 since 1936.

“It’s a tremendous honor to even compete in the Indy 500,” Newgarden said. “Having my face added to the Borg-Warner Trophy is one of the coolest parts about winning the race. I already had a lot of respect for the trophy, but learning about the process and how detailed it is, it’s incredible what (sculptor) Will Behrends does each year.

“Finally seeing the finished product is very special. I thought I knew what it would be like to win the ‘500,’ but there’s a deeper appreciation than you can imagine.”

Renowned sculptor Behrends created Newgarden’s image, as he has for every winner since 1990.

Behrends begins his creative process by studying a series of 360-degree photos of the winner to get a baseline for sculpting. Newgarden then visited Behrends' studio in Tryon, North Carolina, for an in-person session where Behrends constructs a full-scale clay model of the driver’s face.

This life-size clay version is used as reference for Behrends to construct the smaller model, a piece created out of a mixture of oil-based clay. The smaller clay model is turned into a mold and cast in wax before being sent to a jeweler to be transformed into sterling silver. Behrends completes his process by polishing and buffing the sculpture before adhering it to the trophy.

“It is my absolute honor, on behalf of BorgWarner, to unveil Josef’s image on the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy today,” said Michelle Collins, global director of marketing and public relations, BorgWarner. “This solidifies Josef’s place in history as one of the few who have conquered the tremendous feat of winning the Indianapolis 500. We extend our congratulations to Josef and Team Penske and also our thanks to our sculptor Will Behrends, who makes this all a reality.”

Originally designed in 1935, the sterling silver trophy measures over 5 feet, 4-3/4 inches tall and weighs more than 110 pounds as it carries the sculpted face of every victor since 1911.

Early next year, Newgarden will receive his BorgWarner Championships Driver’s Trophy, also known as the “Baby Borg,” a miniature replica of the large-scale Borg-Warner Trophy.

Tickets for the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and all Month of May events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are on sale at IMS.com.

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