101st Indy 500 Race Review: Stunned Disbelief


Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Takuma Sato shocked the racing universe by winning the Indianapolis 500 in his eighth start on the famed oval. He prevailed by two tenths of a second over Helio Castro-Neves. The first Japanese to triumph in the 500, he called it “the best win in my life,” adding “I still just cannot believe it.”


Photo from indycar.com

The mild mannered, likable Andretti Autosport pilot wasn’t the only one in stunned disbelief. Taku had faced much criticism for his past performances at the Speedway as well as other tracks, with crashes commonplace. The 40 year old’s single win in eight seasons of racing brought derision from some quarters, as did his hiring by Andretti before the season. All of that was wiped away Sunday afternoon.

The start was clean following the parade laps and it remained that way until lap 53, when a major accident brought out a rare red flag. Already laps down, Jay Howard drifted high into the turn 1 wall and then careened down the track and into the path of pole sitter Scott Dixon. Dixon’s car flipped into the air, caught the catch fence and disintegrated before coming to a stop. Both drivers emerged unhurt, although Dixon was wearing a boot later in the day. Castro-Neves narrowly avoided the melee.


Photo from sports.usatoday.com

There were nine cautions in addition to the red flag, with three for debris and three more for mechanicals. Conor Daly’s contact with rookie Jack Harvey in turn three brought out the yellow again on lap 66, ending both of their days. The biggest pileup occurred on lap 184 eliminating James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia, Will Power and James Davison and setting up a twelve lap shootout for the finish.


Photo from sports.usatoday.com

One solid running car after another encountered mechanicals as Honda had been battling gremlins all month long. Former winner Ryan Hunter-Reay led twenty eight laps before his Honda expired, then Fernando Alonso’s engine quit after he led twenty seven laps. The failures at Andretti Autosport raised concerns about their remaining cars as the miles wound down. Sage Karam’s car suffered a battery issue, ending Honda’s exclusivity on problems.

Three time 500 winner Helio Castro-Neves was chasing history as well as Sato at the end, but it wasn’t meant to be. Taku took the checkers and drank the milk in victory lane, taking everyone into the realm of the incredible. Everyone except Michael Andretti that is, who’d just won his third 500 out of the last four.


Photo from indycar.com


6 thoughts on “101st Indy 500 Race Review: Stunned Disbelief

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