Takuma Sato, Honda Win The Indianapolis 500
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Takuma Sato, Honda Win The Indianapolis 500

Veteran Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500.

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Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday as Honda drivers claimed four of the top five finishing positions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Honda opened the second century of competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the same way it closed out the previous 100 years of racing at the famous Brickyard: with a thrilling victory.

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Finishing in third, 2016 Indy Lights champion Jones made the most of his Indianapolis 500 debut. Despite twice sustaining damage to his Dale Coyne Racing Honda due to debris from two of the four crashes in the race, Jones worked his way into the lead group in the final 20 laps, and closed on Castroneves on the final lap. His third-place finish was best among the four rookies in this year’s race.

The third Honda contender for the win today – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton – led a race-high 50 laps after going a lap down to the leaders with handling issues early in the race. Adjustments made during early pit stops put Chilton back on a pace with the overall leaders, as he demonstrated by leading on four separate occasions in the 200-lap contest.

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Mechanical issues eliminated two other Andretti Hondas, with Ryan Hunter-Reay dropping out on Lap 136 after leading 28 laps, second only to Chilton in a race with a record 15 different leaders. Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso continued his impressive rookie performance at the “Brickyard”, leading for 27 laps – third highest – before dropping out on Lap 180.

In the first and most spectacular of the day’s crashes, pole-starter Scott Dixon struck the car of Jay Howard after the latter had made impact with the Turn 1 wall. Dixon’s car vaulted high into the air and landed upright on top of the infield retaining wall, but he escaped injury in the Lap 53 collision, as did Howard.

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Video recaps from this month’s Honda racing activities at Indianapolis, including the Indianapolis 500, are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel: youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

IndyCar Series teams and drivers now prepare for a hectic schedule of three races over the next two weeks, starting with next weekend’s June 3-4 double header weekend with races both Saturday and Sunday on the Belle Isle street circuit in Detroit.

Results:

Fn. St. Driver       Team Manufacturer Laps Notes
  1.   4. Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Honda   200 155.395 mph average, led 17 laps
  2. 19. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 200 +0.2011 seconds, led 9 laps
  3. 11. Ed Jones-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 200 Top rookie finisher
  4. 15. Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 200 Led race-high 50 laps
  5.   7. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 200 Led 22 laps
  6. 18. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 200
  7.   3. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 200 Led 23 laps
  8.   8. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda   200  
  9. 25. Gabby Chaves  Harding Racing Chevrolet 200
10. 24. Carlos Munoz A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet 200

Article courtesy Speedville.

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