Takuma Sato Wins Indy 500, Alonso Forced To Retire

Takuma Sato has become the first Japanese driver to claim victory at the Indianapolis 500 after overtaking three-time winner Helio Castroneves with just six laps remaining.
Takuma Sato has become the first Japanese driver to claim victory at the Indianapolis 500 after overtaking three-time winner Helio Castroneves with just six laps remaining.

The race started at a frantic pace with Will Power from Team Penske screaming off the line to jump from ninth all the way to second place behind pole sitter Scott Dixon. Power soon dropped back down the field and by lap 10 was pushed down to 10th following a series of overtakes from the likes of Carpenter, Kanaan, Rossi, Hildebrand, Andretti, Sato, Hunter-Reay and Alonso.

As the race progressed, the top drivers shuffled and switched positions until the first pitstop was taken by Kanaan on lap 28. Just nine laps later, IndyCar rookie Fernando Alonso slipped into first place for a number of laps.

A huge crash involving Jay Howard and Scott Dixon on lap 53 (video below) led to the race being red flagged due to the damage Dixon’s car caused to the fencing.

In the ensuing laps, drivers continued to trade places and by the time the half way point of the race had been reached, it was looking as though the Chevrolet and Honda-powered cars would continue to fight it out until the very end. However, on lap 136, the Honda engine of Ryan Hunter-Reay blew up and shortly after, Rossi fell to 21st position after stalling in the pits.

On lap 179, after looking to grab sixth from Hildebrand, the engine of Fernando Alonso’s car gave up the ghost, spelling an end to what had been a memorable Indy 500 debut for the Spaniard.

In the closing dozen laps, ex-Formula 1 driver Max Chilton led the way and was closely followed by Castroneves. Shortly after, the Brazilian overtook Chilton for the lead but before long, Sato passed Chilton and soon made the winning move on Castroneves.

Speaking to the media after the race, Sato said “Unbelievable! It’s the best feeling. It’s beautiful. I can’t thank enough this team. Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it! With three laps to go I really didn’t know but I just knew I had to go for it!”

Videos courtesy of IndyCar/YouTube

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