News & Multimedia

Sato Becomes First Driver From Japan To Win INDYCAR Race

Courtesy of INDYCAR.com

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Amid the Victory Circle celebration for Takuma Sato, conspicuously absent and certainly missed was the team's inspirational leader, A.J. Foyt.

Foyt was watching the NBC Sports Network's broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach from his Texas home as he faces midweek surgery to relieve sciatica, so the all-time Indy car victory leader couldn't congratulate the first Japanese winner of an Indy car race in person.

The celebration, nonetheless, was hearty as A.J. Foyt Racing claimed its first victory since July 7, 2002, at Kansas Speedway with Airton Dare behind the wheel. The last win for the team on a road/street course was by Foyt on Oct. 1, 1978, at Silverstone. It was A.J. Foyt Racing's 44th victory.

"I wish he was here. We hate it because he is definitely our big leader and he is the big boss man. This is for him," said team director and race strategist Larry Foyt, A.J.'s son.

"Takuma made it look too easy. It made me so nervous watching it out there. He just drove a flawless race. I've never seen a race like that. Just a perfect race. It just all came together. We have been saying that. We've had flashes of being really quick and we just had to bring it all together. The ABC car just looked awesome up front all day."

Sato, making his 52nd IZOD IndyCar Series start, overtook Ryan Hunter-Reay for second on Lap 23 and assumed the point on Lap 30 when race leader Will Power pitted under yellow. The remainder of the race Sato's No. 14 ABC Supply car was strong on both the Firestone primary and alternate tires.

"It was just a perfect weekend to be honest," said Sato, whose previous best finish was second at Edmonton in 2012. "The team did a tremendous job. Pit stops, right calls, the power was great and I was comfortable in the car and able to push everything.

“It is great news for the Japanese. Japan has had such a tough time after the earthquake. I’m really happy to give everybody some good news to wake up to because it’s very early Japanese time."

Sato, who started fourth, led Graham Rahal across the finish line under caution as the No. 11 car driven by Tony Kanaan slid into the tire barrier in Turn 1 on Lap 78 of 80. It was the best finish for Rahal since finishing second at Texas last June. Justin Wilson, who won that race at Texas Motor Speedway, advanced from the 24th starting position to finish third.

"I think we just performed the way we ought to each and every weekend," said Rahal, whose father and team co-owner, Bobby Rahal, was a Long Beach race runner-up four times. "We came out here and the Midas/Big O Tires car was right there all week. To be honest, it just feels phenomenal to get this result."

Pole sitter Dario Franchitti finished fourth and JR Hildebrand finished fifth at Long Beach for the second consecutive year.

"I’m really proud of the run we had and the pit crew guys did such an awesome job, because we made up three or four of those spots in the pits on our last stop," said Hildebrand, who finished 19th and 17th in the first two races in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car.

Sato is the third winner in as many IZOD IndyCar Series races this season climbed to second in the championship standings. Helio Castroneves, who finished 10th, has a six-point lead heading into the May 5 race on the street circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Scott Dixon is third and Marco Andretti, who finished sixth, is fourth. Honda-powered teams swept the podium for the first time this season.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Sato Becomes First Driver From Japan To Win INDYCAR Race
 
Sato Becomes First Driver From Japan To Win INDYCAR Race
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Amid the Victory Circle celebration for Takuma Sato, conspicuously absent and certainly missed was the team's inspirational leader, A.J. Foyt.
Read More
Related Media
Takuma Sato
 
Sato Shines with Gratitude during Unveiling of Likeness on Borg-Warner Trophy
Sato repeated what he had told sculptor Will Behrends when examining a clay likeness during a visit to the artist’s workshop in Tryon, N.C.: “He’s actually a better guy.” It’s the 28th likeness Behrends has sculpted.
Read More
Yoshihide Muroya and Takuma Sato
 
Sato Inspires Muroya, Shares in Japanese Joy of Red Bull Air Race World Title
An emotionally overwhelmed Yoshihide Muroya wiped away tears of joy as the reality started to sink in. A jubilant Takuma Sato raised his arms as if vicariously reliving his own euphoric, career-defining moment.
Read More
Yoshihide Muroya
 
Muroya Wins Red Bull Air Race, World Championship in Dramatic Day at IMS
Yoshihide Muroya of Japan flew to his first Red Bull Air Race World Championship in dramatic style Sunday, winning the season-ending event with a track-record run in the final round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Melanie Astles
 
Challenger Cup Pilots Bergér and Astles Clinch Historic Firsts in Indianapolis
History was made twice at the Red Bull Air Race season finale on Sunday, 15 October 2017, when Challenger Class pilot Mélanie Astles of France became the first woman to claim a major motorsport win of any kind at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Germany’s Florian Bergér became the first pilot ever to win back-to-back Challenger Cup season championships.
Read More
Martin Sonka
 
Sonka Keeps Cool As World Championship Showdown Looms on Race Day
Martin Sonka doesn’t even want to think about the obvious, let alone discuss it. But there’s only so much reality he can block out. Sonka, the Master Class points-leading pilot from the Czech Republic, can claim his first World Championship with a victory in the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,795
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