Takuma Sato Throws Caution to the Wind to Win 104th Indianapolis 500
From Autoweek” data-reactid=”32″>From Autoweek
coronavirus pandemic.” data-reactid=”33″>Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing claimed his second Indianapolis 500 triumph with the veteran racer holding off five-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in a race that finished under caution on Sunday in front of an empty Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Greatest Spectacle in Racing essentially ended with five laps to go when Spencer Pigot spun and violently crashed on the frontstretch of the venerable racing facility.
IndyCar officials refused to throw a red flag and the remaining laps were run under yellow flag conditions as safety officials treated Pigot in what amounted to a debris field near pit entrance.
having first accomplished the feat in 2017 with Andretti Autosport.” data-reactid=”40″>Sato became a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, having first accomplished the feat in 2017 with Andretti Autosport.
“This is unbelievable,” Sato said after the race.
That was a sentiment shared by both Sato and Dixon after the race, with the latter not understanding in real-time why IndyCar would not stop the race.
“Are they going red?” Dixon asked over his team’s radio channel. “They’ve got to go red. There’s no way they can clean that up.”
They couldn’t clean it up in time and the race would not resume.
Dixon was especially frustrated at the development because he believed Sato would have run out of fuel over the remaining laps as he pit one lap prior to Dixon and was leading throughout that stint, which burns up more fuel than second place on back.
“I really can’t see how they were going to make it,” Dixon told the NBC television broadcast. “We pitted a lap later and the numbers we had to get were going to be extremely difficult.
“I think he even hesitated one of the times on the straight when I pulled out beside him, I think they were trying to figure out whether to save fuel or get to the end. I think they just decided to go and run it (flat out).
“First time I’ve seen (the race stewards) let it run out like that, I thought they were definitely going to throw a red flag, which would have been interesting for the last four or five laps.”
After the race, IndyCar put out a statement saying, “IndyCar makes every effort to end races under green, but in this case following the assessment of the incident, there were too few laps remaining to gather the field behind the pace car, issue a red flag, and then restart for a green-flag finish.”
Dixon dominated the race and led 111 of the 200 laps, but he couldn’t overtake Sato as the front runners diced through lapped traffic in the closing laps. Dixon won the 2008 Indianapolis 500, and this was his best finish since a runner-up in 2012. Sato led the second most laps in the race, 27, and took the lead for good at lap 185.
Graham Rahal completed the podium after picking off reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden and posted his best finish in the race since 2011.
Marco Andretti finished 13th from the pole position and was not a factor throughout the race, losing the lead to Dixon on the first corner of the first lap.” data-reactid=”72″>Marco Andretti finished 13th from the pole position and was not a factor throughout the race, losing the lead to Dixon on the first corner of the first lap.
Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso finished 21st and rarely found himself in the top-15 after starting 26th. He crashed his car on the second day of practice last week and never recovered the speed he showed on opening day. Alonso does not expect to return to the event until at least 2023, as he will spend the next two years back in F1 with Renault.