Sato takes second Indy 500 victory under caution for Pigot accident

Takuma Sato won his second Indianapolis 500 after a huge late accident for Spencer Pigot brought about an early end to the 104th running of the race.

Sato, who also won in 2017 for Andretti Autosport, was leading with five laps of the scheduled 200 left to run, fighting through backmarker traffic while trying to fend off Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver’s lead over long-time leader Dixon had been eradicated by his failure to clear the traffic, but managed to pass Tony Kanaan’s AJ Foyt Racing machine to put a car between himself and the chasing #9 Honda of Dixon.

However, on lap 196, fellow RLLR driver Pigot got loose exiting Turn 4 and cannoned into the end of the pit-wall to bring out the caution flags, effectively ending the race four laps early and confirming Sato as the winner, the ninth driver to win became a two-time race winner.

In a race dominated by fuel strategy, Dixon spent much of the afternoon attempting to save fuel in the draft of fellow drivers, allowing Sato past on lap 156 shortly before the final round of green-flag pitstops.

The Japanese driver then pitted for the final time on lap 169 with Dixon responding a lap later, briefly undercutting Sato, before the former Formula 1 driver got past on lap 172 to assume control of the race.

That became a lead he would ultimately keep, handing RLLR its first Indy 500 win and Honda’s 13th overall.

Sato takes second Indy 500 victory under caution

Dixon led a race high 111 laps and was dominant through the early stages of the race, sweeping past pole-sitter Marco Andretti at Turn 1 on the opening tour.

Aside from pit-stop cycles, 2008 winner Dixon was a fixture at the head of the field, trying to eke out his fuel as long as he could, including swapping the lead with Alexander Rossi five times in as many laps just after half-way.

Dixon could not quite reel Sato in after the final stops, but the five-time IndyCar champion’s second place was the New Zealander’s best finish since second in 2012.

Graham Rahal, who like Sato had qualified within the first three rows on the grid had a quiet, steady run to third place, equalling his best result from 2011.

Rahal swooped past reigning series champion Josef Newgarden on lap 172 at Turn 3 for third as the Honda drivers were able to up their pace to levels the Chevrolet runners could not quite keep up with.

Ex-Formula 2 driver Santino Ferrucci took an Indy 500 best result of fourth ahead of Newgarden – who finished as the lead Chevrolet runner for Team Penske in fifth.

Pato O’Ward, in his maiden Indy 500, took sixth for Arrow McLaren SP ahead of Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe and Colton Herta.

Briton Jack Harvey and 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 10, ahead of three-time winner Helio Castroneves in his typical guest outing for Penske.

Polesitter Andretti barely featured in the race and came home in 13th, ahead of 2018 winner Will Power – who had a quiet afternoon in the #12 Penske.

Sato takes second Indy 500 victory under caution

Rossi had provided Dixon with the sternest opposition in the opening stages, but the Andretti driver had a mixed afternoon, which included missing the pit-entry on lap 63 forcing another tour and a penalty for an unsafe release on Sato on pit-road.

That penalty sent the #27 Andretti to the rear of the field, where he passed five cars in one move after a restart for an Alex Palou crash, but his day was ended with a crash on lap 144.

Defending race winner Simon Pagenaud opted to pit early under a caution after James Davison’s right-front brake exploded, but the move off-sequence did not pay off for the Penske driver, who took 22nd behind an anonymous outing for Fernando Alonso in the third Arrow McLaren SP entry.

Alonso’s team-mate Oliver Askew survived a hefty accident shortly after half-way, when he spun trying to avoid Conor Daly’s own spin and hit the SAFER barrier on the inside of Turn 4 broadside.

Askew was able to exit his wrecked car, with the assistance of the medical team, but was later released from the medical centre having passed a check-up.

Indianapolis 500 results – 200 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 3h10m05.0880s
2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 0.0577s
3 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 0.0953s
4 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Dallara/Honda 0.3929s
5 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1.6619s
6 Patricio O’Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara/Chevrolet 3.2496s
7 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 4.2694s
8 Colton Herta Andretti Harding Dallara/Honda 5.1918s
9 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 6.8131s
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 7.9613s
11 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 10.3143s
12 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 13.9668s
13 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 16.0657s
14 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 17.6439s
15 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 19.3960s
16 J.R. Hildebrand Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 20.2342s
17 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 21.4917s
18 Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 24.7017s
19 Tony Kanaan A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap
20 Rinus Van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap
21 Fernando Alonso Arrow McLaren SP Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap
22 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 2 Laps
23 Ben Hanley DragonSpeed Dallara/Chevrolet 2 Laps
24 Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 2 Laps
25 Spencer Pigot Citrone Buhl Autosport with RLL Dallara/Honda Contact
26 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 13 Laps
27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Contact
28 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda Contact
29 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
30 Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
31 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
32 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda Contact
33 James Davison Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda Mechanical

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