Sato Becomes First Japanese to Win Indy 500

Image Japanese driver Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport celebrates with his team after winning the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis Indiana

It happened, just not by the one some expected.Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500 denying Helio Castroneves at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

After spending seven years in Formula One, Sato came to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2010.

Good thing Michael Andretti doesn't listen to the critics. He was made to toil hard as Castroneves did his very best to complete a record-tying fourth victory.

"I'm just really annoyed about the drive-through penalty", Hildebrand said. Before Alonso's failure, 2014 victor Ryan Hunter-Reay lost his engine. Jack Harvey caught some debris that forced his vehicle, a partnership with Michael Shank Racing, back to Gasoline Alley.

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.

Last year, it was with Northern California rookie Alexander Rossi, who finished seventh Sunday.

"I'm really happy for Honda". I feel really bad for Fernando. "He put himself out there and exposed himself, delivered the goods, which isn't a surprise to anyone that has watched Fernando race". But it was in the race he was supposed to struggle, with pit-stops and restarts apparently set to test the McLaren driver's lack of experience when it mattered. "When we ran side-by-side, he was very smart".

The expansive collective, pushed by veteran Andretti COO JF Thormann, rebuilt under the watchful eye of general manager Rob Edwards, and reshaped on the engineering front by technical director Eric Bretzman, has taken back-to-back Indy 500 wins, with the most recent coming while an internal revolution was in progress.

"You've got to go for it; run it flat", he said, "and we did it and pulled away".

"I have to say he did a very good job", said the three-time victor. "I didn't win", he joked.

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At the same time the 42-year-old Castroneves slumped in his cockpit, his hands clutching his head after failing to join AJ Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners of the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing'.

And yet...he stepped out of the vehicle, walked away, got checked by the medical people and was cleared.

Still, the crash was startling for French driver Sebastien Bourdais.

Sunday was just another example. It's a mixed feeling, yes, I'm upset. A handful of engines went down during practice and qualifying, and James Hinchcliffe lost his engine with only minutes left in the final practice on Carb Day.

"That is sometimes the price that must be paid for gains in performance", said Art. St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. We've had the speed this month. "Hopefully we'll be racing for the win next year". "We pitted just before the last caution which put us back up front".

The city of Speedway becomes a top-50 city in terms of population each day on Memorial Day Sunday and the crowd of the 500 Festival Parade is equal to the Macy's Parade or the Parade of Roses.

Sato, a 40-year-old former Formula 1 driver with just one previous victory in IndyCar racing, is the first Indianapolis 500 victor from Japan.

"We kept pushing on, kept making up positions", the 23-year-old from Dubai said. He wound up finishing third. "My legs got pretty cold, to be honest", he said. "I know how big this news is going to be tomorrow when they wake up in Japan".

"The last few laps, they were the moment". The Andretti camp expanded to six cars to add Alonso, a two-time F1 champion who brought massive European interest to the race. "I thought the auto has got tremendous speed, and from talking with my race engineer, I knew from the numbers it looked quite promising". "I was passing, watching the tower, and saw the 29 on top of it". I felt at home.

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