A Second Take: Takuma Sato and Honda Win the 2017 Indianapolis 500!
Japanese driver, Takuma Sato, takes victory in thrilling Indy 500 finish.
Takuma Sato endured a grueling 500 miles, but the Andretti Autosport driver took the checkered flag first in his Honda-powered IndyCar. With the win, Sato not only becomes the first Japanese Indy 500 winner, but he also redeems his near-miss in 2012. His victory came with massive obstacles and represented the deepest breath of relief for a race that tested Honda’s powerplant.
Sato came to the lead with about five laps left of the 200. He made a bold pass around three-time winner Helio Castroneves for first place, his second gutsy pass on Castroneves in the race’s closing laps. The former F1 driver never relinquished the lead from there. However, Sato had fought back from a disastrous pit stop where a crew member dropped a wheel nut. Sato had led parts of the race to then, but the bad stop dropped him to 20th place. From there, he fought back with a quick car.
Here’s the call from Japanese TV:
— とーい (@yuzuzu1018) May 28, 2017
The Alonso Watch 2017.
Fernando Alonso garnered most of the attention from Indianapolis all month and the two-time F1 champion delivered. A strong start found the Spaniard running his Honda at the front with Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sato. Alonso managed to wheel at the front in turns with the other three and hardly looked like it was his first oval race. However, an engine failure on Lap 179 put him out of competition while running in the Top 10.
The biggest incident of note was Scott Dixon’s frightening entanglement with Jay Howard. The collision sent Dixon and his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda high into the air. He collided with a wall on the inside of the track while upside-down. The crash red-flagged the race for repair to the catch fencing, but Dixon was cleared from the Infield Medical Center after the tremendous impact.
If not for Sato’s victory, engine failures may have been the story of the day for Honda. In addition to Alonso’s engine, frontrunners Ryan Hunter-Reay and Charlie Kimball each lost their motors while in the Top 10. The rash of failed engines, while only about 10 percent of the field, put Honda teams, drivers, and fans on edge for the remaining 20 laps. However, Sato’s engine held firm and the Japanese driver made good on his longtime “No Attack, No Chance” motto.
[Photo: HPD Racing]