TAKUMA SATO DEFEATS SCOTT DIXON TO WIN SECOND INDY 500
Takuma Sato became a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday afternoon, holding off Scott Dixon to win at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sato, who previously won Indy in 2017, took the lead from Dixon with just under 30 laps remaining and held him off through the finish.
“This is unbelievable,” Sato said in Victory Lane. “We knew in terms of fuel strategy it was a little tight. Scott was coming out of Turn 4 screaming, and I just held [him] off. Thank you so much.”
The race ended under caution after Sato’s teammate Spencer Pigot spun in Turn 4 and violently made contact with a tire barrier at the pit entry with four laps remaining.
Pigot was awake and alert following the accident but was taken to a local hospital for further evaluations.
Dixon, the current IndyCar Series point leader, finished second at Indy for the third time in his career. The 40-year-old Kiwi led 111 of the race’s 200 laps.
“It’s definitely a hard one to swallow for sure,” Dixon said following the race. “We had such a great day. With fuel mileage, I really can’t see how they [Sato and the No. 30 team] were going to make it.
“I definitely thought they were going to throw a red flag, which I think would have been interesting for the last four or five laps, but huge congrats to Sato. He drove his pants off today.”
Graham Rahal finished the race in the third position, while Santino Ferrucci and Josef Newgarden finished fourth and fifth, respectfully.
Pato O’Ward, James Hinchcliffe, Colton Herta, Jack Harvey and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 10.
The race was the first Indy 500 to take place outside the month of May and also the first to take place without fans, both due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marco Andretti started the race from the pole position, and was a prerace favorite to win, having sat atop the speed charts all month. However, Andretti failed to lead a single lap and eventually finished 13th.
Andretti’s teammate Alexander Rossi also appeared to be a contender early on, leading 17 laps. However, Rossi fell from fourth to 21st after being assessed a penalty on Lap 124 when he made contact with Sato’s car on pit road.
Rossi then hit the Turn 2 wall 20 laps later, ending his race.
“I thought we had a car to win,” Rossi said. “I don’t even want to talk about the penalty right now. I’m going to have to have a long conversation with someone about that.”
Marcus Ericsson, Dalton Kellett, Oliver Askew, Conor Daly and Alex Palou all also retired from the race after being involved in crashes. James Davison was the first driver to retire from the race when his car stopped on the backstretch on Lap 5 with a brake fire.
The NTT IndyCar Series now heads to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for a doubleheader weekend on Aug. 29-30. Both races will air live at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Working traffic adroitly over the final run on Saturday, Denny Hamlin cruised to victory in the Drydene 311 at Dover International Speedway after passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. for the lead with eight laps left. - https://t.co/VjdLsCoycN pic.twitter.com/NA9DL1S70r— CircleTrackPlus (@CircleTrackPlus) August 24, 2020