Takuma Sato, 2017 Indy 500 ChampionEnlarge Photo
After a grueling 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Takuma Sato emerged victorious at the end of the 200-lap race. Sato's surprise victory came after a battle with Hélio Castroneves in the final few laps of the race.
Sato is a former Formula One driver and has only won one IndyCar race since joining the series in 2010. He came close to victory at the Indy 500 in 2012, but he wrecked on the final lap, allowing Dario Franchitti to take the win that year. Sato was, predictably, thrilled to win. "Awesome!" he yelled into his headset after his win was confirmed by officials. Sato was driving the number 26 Honda for the Andretti Autosport racing team.
Castroneves was trying to become a four-time winner at the race, joining A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears.
The fact that Castroneves was even in the running was somewhat remarkable because he avoided a spectacular crash earlier in the race. When Jay Howard hit the wall and bounced back onto the track, pole-sitter Scott Dixon hit his number 77 car and went airborne. Castroneves drove under Dixon's flying car, which was completely obliterated.
The top five finishers from the 101st Indy 500 were as follows:
Sato becomes the first driver from Japan to ever win the Indy 500.