News & Multimedia

Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #3: Bro-mance Helps Yoshi Fly to World Title

Editor’s Note: This is the eighth of a series of 10 vignettes in which IMS Senior Communications Manager Paul Kelly picks his top 10 moments of 2017 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

For pure drama, it was hard in 2017 at IMS to top Yoshihide Muroya’s flight to victory in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in October.

Japanese pilot Muroya entered the final event of the 2017 season for the world’s most prestigious aerobatic racing series four points behind leader Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic.

Muroya faced a steep climb to make the Final 4 of the event on Race Day after qualifying a disappointing 11th. Strong winds and a rain delay also frayed the nerves of Muroya and his rivals on Race Day.

The start of the race didn’t look good for Muroya. He faced title rival Sonka in the opening Round of 14 and produced a sub-par flight of the course that included a two-second penalty for incorrect level flying. But Sonka fared even worse on his run, with a three-second penalty for hitting an Air Gate.

That unlikely result launched Muroya into the Round of 8, with Sonka only making that round as the quickest among the seven losing pilots in the first round.

Muroya dusted off Mikael Brageot of France by 2.569 seconds in the Round of 8, grabbing one of the Final 4 spots. Sonka also made the Final 4 after beating top qualifier Matt Hall.

The drama ratcheted to vein-bursting levels as each pilot made their runs during the Final 4. Sonka produced a disappointing run of 1 minute, 7.280 seconds. Meanwhile, reigning World Champion and 2016 Indianapolis winner Matthias Dolderer produced a strong run of 1:05.546 in swirling wind gusts of 20 mph.

Muroya needed the flight of his life to overtake Dolderer and win the event and World Championship. He delivered – inspired by his new friend, 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.

Sato and Muroya met for the first time the day before in the hangars as Sato visited to support his countryman and witness the unique thrills of Red Bull Air Race, during which pilots skim just 50 feet off the ground at speeds reaching 230 mph while pulling forces of up to 10 G’s through a series of inflatable pylons set up over the IMS infield.

The quiet Muroya and ebullient Sato became fast friends, united by heritage and a shared love of competition and speed.

So when Muroya took off from the IMS infield for his final flight, Sato stood outside Muroya’s hangar, seized by anticipation and tension as much as any member of Muroya’s crew.

Muroya produced a run for the ages, flying to a track record of 1:03.026 to win the race and become the first Japanese pilot to win the World Championship.

The run was astonishing, 1.531 seconds quicker than Muroya’s victorious run in the Round of 8 just minutes before and a staggering 2.520 seconds behind race runner-up Dolderer. Remember, this is an ultra-competitive series in which races often are decided by thousandths of a second.

One of the first people to greet the victorious Muroya after his victory was his new pal, Sato. The two posed together for victory photos on the Yard of Bricks, and Sato played journalist in the post-race press conference and asked Muroya a light-hearted question from the floor, much to the delight of the global media covering the event on site.

This surreal Race Day was like a buddy movie that came to life in the skies over IMS, made even more remarkable and memorable because Muroya and Sato just met a day earlier.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Yoshi Muroya and Takuma Sato
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #3: Bro-mance Helps Yoshi Fly to World Title
Sato and Muroya met for the first time the day before in the hangars as Sato visited to support his countryman and witness the unique thrills of Red Bull Air Race, during which pilots skim just 50 feet off the ground at speeds reaching 230 mph while pulling forces of up to 10 G’s through a series of inflatable pylons set up over the IMS infield.
Read More
Related Media
Danica Daytona
 
Patrick Finalizes First Stage of 'Danica Double' with Daytona 500 Ride
Danica Patrick will drive in the Daytona 500 for Premium Motorsports, finalizing the first stage in her plan to compete in the “Danica Double” in 2018.
Read More
Security Robot
 
Sharp INTELLOS A-UGV Named Official Security Robot of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“Start your engines” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) now extends to its automated, driverless security robot, the Sharp INTELLOS Automated Unmanned Ground Vehicle (A-UGV). Named the Official Security Robot of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Sharp INTELLOS A-UGV provides an added layer of safety and security protection for what is known as the highest capacity sports venue in the world.
Read More
Fernando Alonso
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #1: Alonsomania
Alonso showed plenty of humility and willingness to learn from all corners during the test. He appreciated both the history of IMS and the enormity of the task of trying to earn the second leg of his goal of wearing the Triple Crown of motorsport by winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only 1966 Indianapolis 500 winner Graham Hill has achieved that feat.
Read More
Takuma Sato
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #2: Sato Wins!
Sato showed incredible grace and speed under pressure over the final two laps, refusing to fumble away his chance for glory like in 2012. It’s one thing to win at Indy; it’s quite another to hold off Castroneves, one of the best drivers to ever turn a lap around the historic 2.5-mile oval.
Read More
Kasey Kahne
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #4: Kahne Wins Wild One at Brickyard
Kasey Kahne thrilled the crowd at IMS and on TV and radio with a wild, unlikely victory in the 24th edition of the annual NASCAR classic. The race endured a rain delay of nearly two hours and two red flags, and featured a series of crashes and daring passes in the closing laps and overtime before Kahne emerged with a much-needed win.
Read More
Items 10 - 14 of 1,169
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21