Japanese star Sato in historic Indy 500 win

Posted May 30, 2017

The victory was a popular one with the fans and marked Sato's second career win with the Verizon IndyCar Series and first on an oval.

Driving for Andretti Autosport, Sato, 40, held off three-time Indy 500 victor Helio Castroneves of Brazil by 0.2011 of a second, with Ed Jones coming in third.

Five years ago Sato came close to the title, but crashed out while jostling with eventual victor Dario Franchitti.

All the negative publicity Honda received in the lead-up to the Indianapolis 500 washed away when Takuma Sato dumped a bottle of 2 percent milk over his head in victory lane.

"Obviously, if I come back here, at least I know how everything is".

"But, yes, I do feel after 2012 I really needed to correct something I left over".

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Sato's previous best in seven starts was 13th place.

Last year, it was with rookie Alexander Rossi. "We've been sharing the last two weeks all the meetings in the morning, the meetings in the afternoon", he said of his Andretti routine. I didn't know if I can be as quick as anyone in an Indy auto. Neither driver was injured."As soon as Dixon crashed, I really got scared", Bourdais said. His only previous Indy auto victory was in 2013 with AJ Foyt Racing on the streets of Long Beach, California.

Rookie Ed Jones of Dale Coyne Racing was third, a career best for his IndyCar career and the best 500 finish in Coyne's history. I think not many race-car drivers in this world are courageous enough to do what Fernando just did.

France's Simon Pagenaud was never a contender Sunday, and two-time 500 victor Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, led only two laps and finished sixth.

"I'm really happy for Honda".

In a Chevrolet for Team Penske, Castroneves briefly took the lead but couldn't make it stick as Sato grabbed it back.

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Former driver and team owner, Michael Andretti, said of the Indy 500 victory, "I know how big this news is going to be tomorrow when they wake up in Japan". A red flag stopped action for 19 minutes to fix the barrier and catch fencing in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. Castroneves, the three-time Indy 500 victor, praised Jones for the job the newcomer did. "It was so close"."I really thought we had it", the Brazilian said.He almost got it right.Sato, who started from the second row, beat Castroneves by two-tenths of a second."We kept pushing on, kept making up positions", the 23-year-old from Dubai said. "We had really strong cars, but they seemed like everyone started to have problems".

"He drove incredibly well", Andretti said of Sato's performance in an eventful race that saw pole-sitter Scott Dixon escape serious injury in a spectacular crash and Formula One star Fernando Alonso's race ended by engine failure.

The race also involved a major crash on Lap 53 with 2008 victor Scott Dixon going airborne for a few seconds and landing heavily in the infield wall. He appreciated the unique chance to race the Indy 500 and hopes to one day return, even if he returns to the Monaco Grand Prix next year.

Jones said it was a great race for the Dale Coyne Racing Team and a great month while sneaking a glance at the scoring monitor, nearly like the third-place finish didn't happen.

This year, in part due to his long relationship with Honda, he landed with a top tier team for the first time since he moved to the American series. "It was definitely a rough ride", Dixon said. "I'm like, 'Whoa, that's a big deal, '" Andretti said. "I had already picked that way to go, and it was nowhere else to go to avoid him".

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