Takuma Sato Wins A Crash-Heavy 2020 Indy 500 Under Caution

Illustration for article titled Takuma Sato Wins A Crash-Heavy 2020 Indy 500 Under Caution
Photo: Andy Lyons (Getty Images)

The Indy 500 ended on something of an anti-climax after a crash with five laps to go ended the 104th running of the event under a yellow flag. Japanese driver Takuma Sato took home his second Indianapolis 500 win after looking incredibly strong during the last quarter of the race. While his last 500 was secured for Andretti Autosport, Sato takes home his second win with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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“This is unbelievable... We did [hold Dixon back]. We lapped short from Dixie and we knew the fuel strategy was a little tight,” Sato said with a smile on his face in Victory Circle. “I couldn’t use max power, so I had to go back and forth. Scott was screaming off turn four. Just... thank you so much. The entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, the Honda team, did an incredible job. Gave us a lot of power.”

“Takuma ran hard all day long. In the end, when we ran up against that traffic, I worried they’d pile things up. Takuma got through it really good... he got just enough of a gap, and that’s all it took,” team owner Bobby Rahal said after the race. David Letterman had nothing but hugs and kind words for his driver.

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Sato was wending through lapped traffic on his way to the win with Scott Dixon hot on his tail when his teammate Spencer Pigot had a hard hit into the inside wall before bouncing off the pit entrance wall and ricocheting into the outside wall. As Pigot lay on the track being tended to by the AMR safety team, officials determined that the race would not be red flagged and that Sato would lead the field to the win.

Pigot is confirmed to be awake and alert, transported to Methodist Hospital for further evaluation

It was a humdrum way to end what had been a wild race, where nine drivers failed to finish due to contact. It was a matter of both fuel savings and attrition, and Sato managed to outlast them all. While he wasn’t always a factor for the lead, he had a nearly perfect race—something that’s absolutely necessary at a track like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Sato has only won six races in IndyCar, but two of them are Indy 500s. That’s not a bad record.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

I was under the impression they didn’t have the time to go for a Red/Green finish, they need a certain number of laps under yellow after a red to get the tires up to temp before green, by then the race could have ended still under caution.

No one is sure on the fuel thing, which is part of the race anyways, but it didn’t appear like Dixon had enough left to pass Sato. Of course if Sato had to go lean on the last lap, we will never know.

Either way, it was a great win Sato performed great and he did the right things at the right time.  That’s two wins in 3 years, not bad!