Indy 500: Sato secures second Indianapolis victory

Sato pours the historic milk in victory lane.

Takuma Sato celebrates by pouring the historic milk on himself in the newly redesigned victory lane. (Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar Media).

Takuma Sato became the twentieth different driver to win the Indianapolis 500 Mile-Race multiple times after Sunday’s running.


Scott Dixon and his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda dominated the 104th Indianapolis 500, leading 111 of the 200 laps.

Fuel Saving

Dixon shared the lead in the second half with Alexander Rossi, swapping the lead nearly every other lap to conserve fuel for better pit stops, and minimizing those.

During a caution flag pit stop, Rossi exited his pit stall into the side of Takuma Sato. IndyCar race stewards penalized Rossi for an “unsafe release” from his pit box. Rossi was sent to the rear of the field.

Rossi’s Run

On the restart, Rossi made incredible passes on the outside, inside and even the middle all around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Unfortunately for the California native, Rossi crashed on lap 143 on his own in traffic. Rossi cited the penalty as the factor on why he and his Andretti Autosport lost a chance at their second Indy 500.

Rossi led 17 laps.

Sato’s Strength

As Dixon needed to still conserve fuel, he let Sato go ahead.

With laps winding down, however, Dixon was unable to get back around Sato who led through late-race pit cycles.

A slower pit stop but Sato behind Dixon but after just a handful of laps, Sato rocketed past Dixon.

Sato closed in on lap traffic with under 10 laps remaining. This allowed Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci to close in on Dixon and Sato, however, with five laps remaining a caution-flag ended anybody else’s shot.

Race Retirements

It was an early exit for the man who has made the most of 2020.

James Davison was the first car to retire from the 104th Indy 500. The Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, Byrd & Belardi Autosport No. 51 Honda caught aflame after just four laps with his brakes on fire.

Marcus Ericsson ended his day on lap 24 after crashing in turn 2. It was an abrupt end to the Swede competing in his first ‘500’ for Chip Ganassi.

Rookies Alex Palou, Oliver Askew, and Dalton Kellett all ended their rookie Indy 500 run in the paddock.

Kellett crashed his A.J. Foyt Enterprises No. 41 Chevy on lap 82 in the third turn.

Askew and Conor Daly’s bid for the Indy 500 ended on a lap 91 restart when Daly lost control of his Ed Carpenter Racing No. 47 on the concrete curb exiting the fourth turn. Daly spun towards the pit lane undamaged until Askew headed into the smokescreen and made an abrupt turn towards the inside wall. 

The move for Askew was simply a rookie mistake made at nearly 200MPH but ended the day for both drivers. Askew took a scary impact into the inside SAFER barrier but walked away.

Palou ended his day early on lap 121, smacking the outside wall exiting turn 1. The impact shredded the right side of his Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda.

Rossi’s No. 27 Honda finished 27th following his lap 143 crash.

Pigot’s Impact

Spencer Pigot was the last retiree in Sunday’s classification, finishing 25th. His RLL with Citrone-Buhl Autosport spun exiting the fourth turn, slammed into the outside wall, skidded down the track before impacting the pit wall, shooting his Honda back up into the track.

Pigot was taken out of his car, visibly moving, but obviously in pain.

The crash occurred with five laps remaining and forced IndyCar to run the resumption of the race under the caution flag.

RLL team owners, Bobby Rahal and David Letterman told the media post-race that they believe Pigot is safe. Pigot was transported to a local hospital.

All other drivers involved in crashes were released from the IMS infield care center.

Victory Notes

Sato’s victory is his second in the Indianapolis 500. It’s also the second for team owners Rahal and Letterman. The third co-owner Mike Lanigan joined Rahal’s team to form RLL in 2011.

Takuma Sato kisses the bricks after winning on Sunday. (Credit: James Black/IndyCar Media).

Sato is just one of two active IndyCar drivers to have multiple victories along with Helio Castroneves (3).

The win is only the second win for a Japanese-born driver, with him of course earning the first in 2017.

Honda won for the thirteenth time on Sunday, moving into the second-winningest Indy 500 engine all-time behind Offenhauser with 27. It’s the first Honda victory in the ‘500’ since Sato’s 2017 win.

Three Honda-powered cars take the caution and checkered flags ahead of the rest of the field. Honda swept the top four. (Credit: James Black/IndyCar Media).

It also the thirteenth time in the race that the outside polesitter (third-place) went on to win. The last time was with Will Power in 2018.

Difficult Days

It was a long day for Ed Carpenter on Sunday. He was put into the outside wall in the short chute between turns 1 and 2 on the opening lap by Zach Veach. Carpenter’s U.S. Space Force Chevrolet was injured enough where the team was forced to take substantial time on pit road to repair.

Carpenter finished 13 laps down in 26th-place.

Simon Pagenaud finished two laps down. The 2019 winner of the Indy 500 was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay on a late restart and was forced to replace the front wing under an unscheduled green-flag pit stop.


The Tokyo native proudly displays his flag on the yard of bricks after winning on Sunday. (Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar Media).

Pos.: Driver (No.) Team – Laps

1: Takuma Sato (30) Rahal Letterman Lanigan – 200

2: Scott Dixon (9) PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing – 200

3: Graham Rahal (15) Rahal Letterman Lanigan – 200

4: Santino Ferrucci (18) Dale Coyne w/ Vasser-Sullivan – 200

5: Josef Newgarden (1) Team Penske – 200

6: Pato O’Ward [R](5) Arrow McLaren SP – 200

7: James Hinchcliffe (29) Andretti Autosport – 200

8: Colton Herta (88) Andretti Harding Steinbrenner – 200

9: Jack Harvey (60) Meyer Shank Racing – 200

10: Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) Andretti Autosport – 200

11: Helio Castroneves (3) Team Penske – 200

12: Felix Rosenqvist (10) NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing – 200

13: Marco Andretti (98) Andretti Herta Autosport – 200

14: Will Power (12) Team Penske – 200

15: Zach Veach (26) Andretti Autosport – 200

16: J.R. Hildebrand (67) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – 200

17: Max Chilton (59) Carlin – 200

18: Charlie Kimball (4) A.J. Foyt Enterprises – 200

19: Tony Kanaan (14) A.J. Foyt Enterprises – 199

20: Rinus VeeKay [R](21) Ed Carpenter Racing – 199

21: Fernando Alonso (66) Arrow McLaren SP – 199

22: Simon Pagenaud (22) Team Penske – 198

23: Ben Hanley (81) DragonSpeed USA – 198

24: Sage Karam (24) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – 198

25: Spencer Pigot (45) RLL w/ Citrone-Buhl Autosport – 195 CRASH

26: Ed Carpenter (20) Ed Carpenter Racing – 187

27: Alexander Rossi (27) Andretti Autosport – 143 CRASH

28: Alex Palou [R](55) Dale Coyne w/ Team Goh – 121 CRASH

29: Conor Daly (47) Ed Carpenter Racing – 91 CRASH

30: Oliver Askew [R](7) Arrow McLaren SP – 91 CRASH

31: Dalton Kellett (41) A.J. Foyt Enterprises – 82 CRASH

32: Marcus Ericsson (8) Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing – 24 CRASH

33: James Davison (51) Dale Coyne w/ Ware, Byrd & Belardi – 4 BRAKES'
Adam Coon

Since being 15 years old, Adam Coon has been apart of the NASCAR Media scene and has been covering racing content online since 2016. At 18 years old today, he now covers the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and IndyCar Series for The Podium Finish.

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