August 23, 2020 — SPEEDWAY , Ind.
-Takuma Sato prevails over Scott Dixon to score second “500” victory
-Graham Rahal, Santino Ferrucci round out Honda 1-2-3-4 sweep
-Honda scores 13th victory in an historic running of the Indianapolis 500
Takuma Sato passed a previously dominant Scott Dixon with just 15 laps remaining in today’s Indianapolis 500, and went on to score his second win at the famed “Brickyard” in a race dominated by Honda teams and drivers.
Although he led only twice for a total of 27 laps, Sato’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda was fast when it counted, in the run from the last round of pit stops to the checkered flag. Exiting the pits in second to Dixon, Sato swept into the lead on lap 185, then held off several attempts by Dixon to repass as the pair worked their way through lapped traffic. The race was decided on Lap 196 of the scheduled 200, when Spencer Pigot crashed hard exiting Turn 4, leading the race to end under the caution flag. The win is the second at Indy for Sato, following his initial “500” triumph in 2017.
Prior to the final pit stops, Dixon had dominated the day in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, leading a race-high 111 laps as the championship leader sought his own second Indy victory. Starting in the middle of the front row in the 33-car field, Dixon took the lead at the Green Flag and went on to control much of the 200-lap contest, especially after Alexander Rossi, in a strong running Andretti Autosport Honda, crashed out of the race on Lap 143. Prior to his contact with the wall, Rossi led four times for a total of 17 laps as he and Dixon edged away from the field in the middle portion of the race.
But both Rahal Letterman Lanigan Hondas came on strong in the closing laps, with Sato’s teammate Graham Rahal closing the gap to the lead pair in the final laps to finish third. After a disappointing qualifying effort, Santino Ferrucci conducted an exciting late- race effort of his own, finishing fourth to complete a Honda 1-2-3-4 sweep at the finish.
Honda drivers claimed eight of the top-10 finishing positions, with James Hinchcliffe recovering from a clutch problem encountered in his second pit stop to finish seventh, with his Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta eighth. Jack Harvey had his best Indy finish to date with a ninth-place result for Meyer Shank Racing; while Ryan Hunter- Reay rounded out the top 10 in his Andretti Autosport Honda.
The string of five consecutive NTT INDYCAR SERIES oval races continues next weekend as drivers and teams head 150 miles southwest to WorldWide Technolgy Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri for a pair of 200-lap races Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30.
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Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Started 3rd, finished 1st; second Indy 500 win; 13th victory for Honda at Indianapolis: “I think we had the best car. Only we were a lap short from Dixie [Scott Dixon] in terms of the fuel strategy, and [making fuel mileage to the finish] was a little tight. I couldn’t use max power to switch back and forth. And Dixon kept coming through Turn 4 [on the final green flag lap] and I was just able to hold him off. This is unbelievable. Everyone did a hell of a job. HPD and Honda gave us a lot of power and a lot of fuel mileage.”
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 2nd, finished 2nd; led race-high 111 laps; increased his mid-season championship points lead to 84 over Josef Newgarden [335-251]: “This is a hard one to swallow. On fuel mileage, I really can’t see how [Takuma] Sato was going to make it [prior to the caution that ended the race]. We pitted a lap later, and the [fuel mileage] numbers they had to get, it was going to be very difficult. I thought they were going to throw a red flag [following a late-race crash by Spencer Pigot], which would have been interesting for the last four or five laps. Huge congrats to Takuma. He drove his pants off today. Rahal Letterman Lanigan, they were super fast, obviously finishing first and third. It was good day for Honda. I want to give a massive thank you to them. We’re very proud to be powered by HPD and Honda, and it’s nice to get some [championship] points. But it’s hard when the win slips away like that.”
Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) Started 19th, finished 4th: “It was just an incredible race. The SealMaster Honda was insane today. The guys worked really hard on pit lane, on the timing stand and the strategy was perfect. I’m just really happy, after two incredibly long weeks of focusing on the car, we ended really good. During the first pit stop I got caught in neutral, and it was like a blessing in disguise. It set us way back, but the momentum we had just carried us. On the next restart [after a caution flag] we went from 25th right back into the top-10. It was where we needed to be and we just fought our way from there into the top-four.”
Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Indianapolis 500: “This was a very satisfying win. On behalf of every HPD team member and everyone back at HPD in Santa Clarita – who have all been pushing hard since last year’s race – thank you! Congratulations to Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal and the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan team for their one-three finish today; to Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing for his dominant run to lead 111 laps and second-place result; and to all of our partner teams and their great drivers. Together we led all but 22 laps of today’s race, and scored an incredible 13th ‘500’ win for Honda.”
Circuit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval) Indianapolis, IN
2018 Winner: Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) 175.794 mph average
Weather: Mostly sunny, hot, 85 degrees F
W – Previous Indianapolis 500 winner
R – Indianapolis 500 Rookie