Sato Wins as Honda Dominates the Indianapolis 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind., Aug. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

Next
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.

Honda Racing social media content and videos from this weekend's pair of races 104(th) running of the Indianapolis 500 will be available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD). Produced by the CoForce Digital Media, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

Quotes
Takuma Sato
(Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Started 3(rd), finished 1(st); second Indy 500 win; 13(th) 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 2(nd), finished 2(nd); 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 19(th), finished 4(th): "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 25(th) 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 13(th) '500' win for Honda."


       
       
                Indianapolis 500

    ---

            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




            Results:




            Fn.                                    St.   
            
              Driver               
      
              Team                        
      
              Manufacturer Laps  
       
              Notes

    ---


       
       1.                                      3.    
            
              Takuma Sato-W                      Rahal Letterman Lanigan     
      
              Honda         200                  157.824 mph average speed



       
       2.                                      2.    
            
              Scott Dixon-W                      Chip Ganassi Racing         
      
              Honda         200                  +0.0577 seconds (under
                                                                                                                                                                                             caution)



       
       3.                                      8.    
            
              Graham Rahal                       Rahal Letterman Lanigan     
      
              Honda         200



       
       4.                                     19.                        Santino Ferrucci                   DCR with Vasser-Sullivan    
      
              Honda         200



       5.                                         13.    
            Josef Newgarden                 
      Team Penske                            
      Chevrolet                200



       6.                                         15.    
            Pato O'Ward-R                   
      Arrow McLaren SP                       
      Chevrolet                200



       
       7.                                      6.                        James Hinchcliffe                  Andretti Autosport          
      
              Honda         200



       
       8.                                     10.    
            
              Colton Herta                       Andretti Harding Autosport  
      
              Honda         200



       
       9.                                     20.    
            
              Jack Harvey                        Meyer Shank Racing          
      
              Honda         200



       
       10.                                     5.                        Ryan Hunter-Reay-W                 Andretti Autosport          
      
              Honda         200



       11.                                        28.    
            Helio Castroneves-W             
      Team Penske                            
      Chevrolet                200



       
       12.                                    14.                        Felix Rosenqvist                   Chip Ganassi Racing         
      
              Honda         200



       
       13.                                     1.                        Marco Andretti                     Andretti Herta Autosport    
      
              Honda         200



       14.                                        22.    
            Will Power-W                    
      Team Penske                            
      Chevrolet                200



       
       15.                                    17.    
            
              Zach Veach                         Andretti Autosport          
      
              Honda         200



       16.                                        32.    
            JR Hildebrand                   
      Dreyer & Reinbold Racing               
      Chevrolet                200



       17.                                        30.    
            Max Chilton                     
      Carlin Racing                          
      Chevrolet                200



       18.                                        29.    
            Charlie Kimball                 
      A.J. Foyt Enterprises                  
      Chevrolet                200



       19.                                        23.    
            Tony Kanaan-W                   
      A.J. Foyt Enterprises                  
      Chevrolet                199   
       Running



       20.                                         4.    
            Rinus VeeKay-R                  
      Ed Carpenter Racing                    
      Chevrolet                199   
       Running



       21.                                        26.    
            Fernando Alonso                 
      Arrow McLaren SP                       
      Chevrolet                199   
       Running



       22.                                        25.    
            Simon Pagenaud-W                
      Team Penske                            
      Chevrolet                198   
       Running



       23.                                        33.    
            Ben Hanley                      
      DragonSpeed Racing                     
      Chevrolet                198   
       Running



       24.                                        31.    
            Sage Karam                      
      Dreyer & Reinbold Racing               
      Chevrolet                198   
       Running



       
       25.                                    12.    
            
              Spencer Pigot                      Rahal Letterman Lanigan     
      
              Honda         194                  Did not finish - crash



       26.                                        16.    
            Ed Carpenter                    
      Ed Carpenter Racing                    
      Chevrolet                187   
       Running



       
       27.                                     9.                        Alexander Rossi-W                  Andretti Autosport          
      
              Honda         143                  Did not finish -crash



       
       28.                                     7.    
            
              Alex Palou-R                       DCR with Team Goh           
      
              Honda         121                  Did not finish - crash



       29.                                        18.    
            Conor Daly                      
      Ed Carpenter Racing                    
      Chevrolet                 91       Did not finish - crash



       30.                                        21.    
            Oliver Askew-R                  
      Arrow McLaren SP                       
      Chevrolet                 91       Did not finish - crash



       31.                                        24.    
            Dalton Kellett-R                
      A.J. Foyt Enterprises                  
      Chevrolet                 82       Did not finish - crash



       
       32.                                    11.                        Marcus Ericsson                    Chip Ganassi Racing         
      
              Honda          24                  Did not finish - crash



       
       33.                                    27.    
            
              James Davison                      Dale Coyne Racing           
      
              Honda           4                  Did not finish - brakes



                                           W 
                - Previous
                                            Indianapolis 500 winner


                                           R -
                                            Indianapolis 500 Rookie

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SOURCE Honda Racing/HPD