2017 Indianapolis 500 raceday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 28

The 101st Indianapolis 500

Sato clearly fastest at the end of the day

captions, video and photos by Tim Hailey, story courtesy of IMS press releases

Takuma Sato with his race car, the Borg-Warner trophy, Michael Andretti, and the Andretti Autosports team

Takuma Sato capped off another thrilling Indianapolis 500 that featured a record number of drivers leading the race. The driver of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda edged three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves to the finish line by 0.2011 of a second to become the first Japanese winner of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Helio Castroneves came up just short again in his quest for 4. MORE INDY PICS

Sato passed Castroneves for the lead on Lap 195 - the last of 35 lead changes in the 200-lap race on the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and the seventh straight year that the decisive pass for the Indy 500 lead occurred in the last six laps. Sato held off aggressive charges from Castroneves, the driver of the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet, in the sixth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

Sato and the huge turn 3 crowd salute each other for a job well done MORE INDY PICS

After spending seven years in Formula One, Sato came to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2010. His only previous Indy car victory was in 2013 with AJ Foyt Racing on the streets of Long Beach, California. Sato joined Andretti Autosport this season, and his first oval win today is the fifth for Andretti Autosport in the Indianapolis 500 - including three in the last four years.

The winning smile of Takuma Sato MORE INDY PICS

"It's such a privilege to win here," said Sato, who crashed while battling eventual winner Dario Franchitti for the lead on the final lap of the 2012 Indy 500. "So whether it was the first attempt or eighth attempt or you had a drama in the past, it doesn't really matter. Winning today, it's just superb.

Dario Franchitti rushed in to congratulate his 2012 rival MORE INDY PICS

"But, yes, I do feel after 2012 I really needed to correct something I left over. Today, I was so happy that I made it and won in a good move."

Sato is the 71st driver to win an Indianapolis 500 in its 101 runnings. The best previous finish by a Japanese driver was fifth by Tora Takagi in 2003.

 

One of the many issues Castroneves dealt with on Sunday was driving off course and under Scott Dixon's flying Dallara

Castroneves overcame a black-flag penalty for jumping a restart and dodged mayhem in two race incidents to finish second at Indy for the third time - making him one of seven drivers with three Indianapolis 500 runner-up finishes. It is the 41st second-place finish of the Brazilian's 20-year Indy car career, which ranks second all time. "The Shell Fuel Rewards Chevy team almost got it done today," said Castroneves, attempting for the eighth straight year to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time Indy 500 winners. "It was so close. 

"I say, 'great job' to my guys," added Castroneves, who recovered from his worst Indy 500 start (19th) and the pit drive-through penalty to finish runner-up. "They worked their tails off, we saw it all today. We were in the back and we led some laps. We avoided disaster and we almost got (win) No. 4."

 

There was a fair amount of social media outrage when Fernando Alonso was named rookie of the year and not Ed Jones. In the interview above, Jones and I talk about his race plans and his lack of a watch sponsor.

Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones finished a career-best third. Like Castroneves, Jones had to climb from the rear of the field after having the rear wing assembly on his No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda replaced during a pit stop. "We kept pushing on, kept making up positions," the 23-year-old from Dubai said. "I had a great Dale Coyne Racing car underneath me the whole way that got me to make those passes. ... Congrats to Sato. I didn't really have the pace for him and Helio at the end, but we did the best we could."

Alonso definitely had the respect of the Indy crowd, including these in the turn 2 suites

Fernando Alonso was the most heralded rookie coming into the race. The two-time Formula One champion, who bypassed today's F1 Monaco Grand Prix to fulfill a dream to drive in the Indy 500, started fifth, ran up front most of the day and led 27 laps in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda. Alonso's race came to a premature conclusion 24th place with a mechanical issue after 179 laps. "Obviously disappointed not to finish the race because every race you compete, you want to be at the checkered flag," Alonso said. "Today, (it) was not possible. Anyway, (it) was a great experience, the last two weeks. I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself. I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car. I didn't know if I can be as quick as anyone in an Indy car.

"Thanks to INDYCAR, an amazing experience," the 35-year-old Spaniard added. "Thanks to Indianapolis, thanks to the fans. I felt at home. I'm not American, but I felt really proud to race here."

 

Indy sophomore Max Chilton led more laps than any driver. In the interview above he talks about the race, his brand, watches, and Chip Ganassi.

Despite going a lap down early with handling issues, Chip Ganassi Racing's Max Chilton led the most laps (50) before finishing fourth. It was the best showing of the 26-year-old Brit's two-year Verizon IndyCar Series career. "I don't think anyone has ever won this race without a little bit of luck," said Chilton, driver of the No. 8 Gallagher Honda. "When we did end up getting out front, the car was really quick and you can see why this place is so special and so electric in that moment. ... To come from a lap down to lead and have a chance to win here at Indy is a massive accomplishment for the whole team."  

 

The full Dixon crash, which everyone in the world has seen by now. MORE INDY PICS

A total of 15 drivers led the event, breaking the record of 14 set in 2013. The race was slowed by 11 cautions periods for a total of 50 laps. A red flag stopped action for 19 minutes to repair the SAFER Barrier and catch fencing in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. It was the result of a Lap 53 collision between Jay Howard and pole sitter Scott Dixon that vaulted Dixon's car into the safety materials on the inside of the track. Neither driver was injured. "I'm just a little beaten up," said Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Camping World Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. "It was definitely a bit of a rough ride.I was hoping that Jay was going to stay against the wall, but obviously, there was the impact. I had already picked that way to go and there was nowhere else to go to avoid him. It was definitely a wild ride. Big thanks to the Holmatro Safety Team, INDYCAR and Dallara and everyone for the safety standards we have on these cars."

Buddy Lazier was involved in a single-car incident on Lap 122. The 1996 Indy 500 winner spun and contacted the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier in the No. 44 Lazier Racing-StalkIt-Tivoli Lodge Chevrolet. Complaining of chest discomfort, Lazier was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The final caution flag waved on Lap 184 when the cars of James Davison and Oriol Servia touched in Turn 2, sparking a five-car incident that also collected James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden and Will Power. None of the drivers was injured.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal gets used to one of the green flags that he and a Boston Marathon bombing survivor would wave to start the race.

A consistent subject for me on the grid is the moment that crews break out cold cut sandwiches. It's become for me a ritual as scheduled and time-honored as any at Indianapolis. Here Casey Gewertz—part time Larry McBride helper, brother of NHRA National Dragster photographer Marc Gewertz, shock specialist, and fuel man for defending race winner Alexander Rossi, enjoys a pre-race sub.

2X F1 world champion and 2X Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, now 70 years old

Michael Andretti and McLaren boss Zak Brown. MORE INDY PICS

Honda's Gil de Ferran (left) served as Alonso's driving coach. Clark Drake (right) partied with Tim Hailey on Thursday night

Alonso

REM's Mike Mills showing his support for Oriol Servia (Thanks to Cole Coonce for the heads-up)

Mikey Carlisle! MORE INDY PICS

Ladies and gentlemen, AJ Foyt. MORE INDY PICS

Mario! MORE INDY PICS

German motorsports journalist Wolfgang Monsehr. MORE INDY PICS

I spotted the Williford family sitting in the stands at the head of the main straight

The front row of pole sitter Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter (center) and defending race winner Alexander Rossi

From the E stand penthouse I catch a snap of the Nicky Hayden sticker on the inside of Graham Rahal's car

Second row starter Alonso's McLaren orange car gets swamped at the start by row 3

The mid-field scrum entering turn 1 at the start. MORE INDY PICS

9th place starter Will Power moved up very early before dropping like a rock, never really to resurface again. Here he is passing front row starter Rossi

Sébastien Bourdais replacement James Davison moved up like a bullet, here passing Buddy Lazier on the outside after already passing Sebastián Saavedra, Zak Veach and Pippa Mann

Mikhail Aleshin, Oriol Servia, Jay Howard and Carlos Munoz battling early. The always-good-at-Indy Munoz finished highest of the group in 10th Servia was agressive all day until that moment when he over-reached....

 

....and initiated this big crash. "I had a great car," said Servia. "In the first stint, we went backwards but then we changed the car a little bit and I think the Manitowoc car was a rocket ship. I felt so confident on restarts; we had the pace. To end the race this way is just a shame. Only one person is happy at the end of the day at this place of the 33 drivers. I was aggressive but clean all race. When (James) Davison was outside, he just closed, closed, closed on me and I had nowhere to go. I turned as much as I could. I was off the throttle. It just did one little move and we touched and that was it. It is what it is. You cannot go back in time, unfortunately. I'm just so pleased with the effort of everyone on the team. We never gave up at the beginning and we just had an amazing pace. I'll be back. I'm going to win this race one day. I am."

Charlie Kimball, Davison and James Hinchcliffe battle in turn 3 before the multi-car crash in the south short chute

This couple was engaged on Saturday and at the Indy 500 on Sunday. MORE INDY PICS

Castroneves gets past Chilton to mount his charge on Sato. "I take my hat off to Takuma for having a strong car today. He really seemed to be getting better as the race went along," said Helio.

It was indeed Sato who had the Honda power and the car to place it where it needed to be at the end of the day.

Every year after the race I hunt for a fun looking group to bum a beer off of. I struck gold with this crowd

This girl's stagger was wildly offset....this isn't an isolated frame....she walked like this, continously listing to one side for a long time. I hope for humor's sake it was because of drunkin/drggedness and not some permanant condition....

When you're wearing a Trump shirt, you can just grab'em by the tit

Meanwhile, back at the media center, a happy Sato and the uber-successful Andretti. Michael had a hard time beating Team Penske as a driver, but he's discovered the formula to do the job as an owner.

My final shot of every 500 is the winner and the legendary Indy Star paperman known only as Chuck

Sato becomes the sixth different winner in as many Verizon IndyCar Series races this season and jumps to third place in the standings. Castroneves leads with 245 points while reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud, Sato and Dixon each has 234. Alexander Rossi is fifth in points with 190 after finishing seventh today.

Results Sunday of the 101st Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed reason out (if any), and and prize money earned:

1. (4) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running, $2,458,129
2. (19) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $770,629
3. (11) Ed Jones, Honda, 200, Running, $535,629 
4. (15) Max Chilton, Honda, 200, Running, $484,129
5. (7) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 200, Running, $438,129 
6. (18) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $255,805
7. (3) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running, $420,629 
8. (8) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running, $384,629 
9. (25) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $235,305 
10. (24) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $364,129 
11. (2) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $395,129 
12. (14) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running, $361,129 
13. (13) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 200, Running, $355,629 
14. (23) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $349,129 
15. (31) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $210,305 
16. (6) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $345,129 
17. (28) Pippa Mann, Honda, 199, Running, $200,305
18. (29) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 194, Running, $200,305 
19. (22) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 186, Running, $334,129 
20. (33) James Davison, Honda, 183, v355,129 
21. (12) Oriol Servia, Honda, 183, Contact, $200,305 
22. (17) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 183, Contact, $349,129 
23. (9) Will Power, Chevrolet, 183, Contact, $388,129 
24. (5) Fernando Alonso, Honda, 179, Mechanical, $305,805 
25. (16) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 166, Mechanical, $339,129 
26. (32) Zach Veach, Chevrolet, 155, Mechanical, $200,805 
27. (10) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 136, Mechanical, $351,629 
28. (21) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 125, Mechanical, $202,805 
29. (30) Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, 118, Contact, $200,305 
30. (26) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 65, Contact, $334,129 
31. (27) Jack Harvey, Honda, 65, Contact, $205,805 
32. (1) Scott Dixon, Honda, 52, Contact, $446,629 
33. (20) Jay Howard, Honda, 45, Contact, $200,305 

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 155.395 mph
Time of Race: 3:13:03.3584 
Margin of victory: 0.2011 of a second
Cautions: 11 for 50 laps
Lead changes: 35 among 15 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Dixon 1-5 , Kanaan 6-27, Carpenter 28-29, Hildebrand 30, Montoya 31, Carpenter 32-34, Rossi 35-36, Alonso 37-42, Rossi 43-47, Alonso 48-60, Rossi 61-64, Sato 65-75, Rossi 76-78, Hunter-Reay 79-81, Power 82-83, Chilton 84-86, Hunter-Reay 87-89, Rossi 90-93, Hunter-Reay 94-95, Castroneves 96-103, Hunter-Reay 104, Rossi 105-109, Hunter-Reay 110-112, Rahal 113-114, Hunter-Reay 115-129, Alonso 130-134, Hunter-Reay 135, Alonso 136-138, Chilton 139-142, Kimball 143-147, Chilton 148-165, Davison 166-167, Hildebrand 168, Chilton 169-193, Castroneves 194, Sato 195-200

Sato earned $2,458,129 from an overall purse of $13,178,359 for his victory. Castroneves, who dodged multiple on-track incidents and led nine laps even after receiving a drive-through penalty, earned $770,629 for finishing second in the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet. He became one of seven drivers with three Indianapolis 500 runner-up finishes.

Jones never led in the race but ended up as the top rookie finisher in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda, earning $535,629. Max Chilton, who led a race-high 50 laps, finished in fourth place in the No. 8 Gallagher Honda. He earned $484,129.

Rounding out the top five was 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda. Kanaan, who led 22 laps, earned $438,129. Pole sitter Scott Dixon earned $446,629 despite placing 32nd in the No. 9 Camping World Honda. Dixon was unhurt after a frightening crash with Jay Howard on Lap 53 in which Dixon's car went airborne and hit the inside SAFER Barrier between Turns 1 and 2.

Fernando Alonso earned $305,805, including $50,000 for being named Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Two-time Formula One World Champion Alonso was the top-qualifying rookie, in fifth, and led 27 laps - more than any other rookie - before ending up 24th after a mechanical problem on Lap 180 halted his race while running seventh in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda.

The Indianapolis 500 purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series awards, plus other designated and special awards. Purse awards were announced and presented at the Victory Celebration presented by Ice Miller and Allied Solutions on Monday, May 29 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The Verizon IndyCar Series travels to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park for next weekend's Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, the only doubleheader weekend on the 2017 schedule. The races air at 3:30 p.m. ET June 3 and 4 on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. 

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