News & Multimedia

Sato Shines with Gratitude during Unveiling of Likeness on Borg-Warner Trophy

An anxious Takuma Sato leaned in, but that wasn’t close enough.

So he knelt for an even better view of his sterling-silver likeness on the 65-inch, 110-pound Borg-Warner Trophy when it was unveiled Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

“Wow,” said Sato, the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28. “That’s fantastic.”

The 104th likeness on the trophy met with his approval.

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.

IMS President Doug Boles reminded that Sato defined himself as a great winner by “screaming at the top of his lungs” on the radio after winning the race in a duel with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske.

“I almost want to scream today,” Sato said, “because I’m so happy.”

The first Japanese driver to ever win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” couldn’t stop smiling during the ceremony, which has become an annual tradition for the historic race. The one time that grin disappeared was for a startled moment, when Sato, a 40-year-old Tokyo native, slightly bumped the trophy during the photo session.

Sato flashed a frightened facial expression, then collected himself. He and the trophy were just fine. The smile returned, cameras started clicking again, and Sato eventually took selfie pictures of himself with the trophy.

Dapperly dressed in a black suit and tie with his black shoes buffed to a spiffy shine, Sato wore a winner’s ring on each hand. Always polite, he did his best to search for the appropriate words to describe his gratitude.

“Wow,” he said, “That’s a special moment. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much everyone, first of all. Good afternoon.

“How long do we got today?”

Sato won the race while driving for Andretti Autosport but has since joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Boles suggested another IMS duel that didn’t work out for Sato endeared him to race fans. Sato drove for RLL in the 2012 Indy 500 and crashed on the last lap while trying to pass eventual winner Dario Franchitti in Turn 1.

“You laid it all on the line in Turn 1,” Boles said. “You were going to win that race or crash trying. I think our fans knew that. When you had an opportunity to win this year, the people stayed around, they were excited, and that was really because they know that you know how important it is to win the Indy 500.”

Scott Gallett, BorgWarner vice president of marketing, public relations & government affairs, agreed with Boles that Sato’s likeness is on “the best trophy in the world.”

The trophy has been appraised at $3.5 million, Gallett said.

“But we think it’s pretty much priceless,” he said.

The same could be said for Sato’s reaction and genuine appreciation for his likeness appearing on that trophy. He always dreamed of winning the race but never had any idea about the “impact and power” of winning an Indy 500.

“Today, I look at the face, and he’s just a happy man,” Sato said of his likeness, “as I am.”

2018 race: The 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is scheduled for Sunday, May 27. Fans can apply for tickets by visiting IMS.com.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
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
Related Media
Jordan King
 
King Taking Everything in Stride for Rookie Season
End results are usually the bottom-line reality, but Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Jordan King insisted on Friday that he’s run stronger than where he’s finished in three Verizon IndyCar Series races.
Read More
Robert Wickens
 
Rookie Wickens Shines in 'Bittersweet' Qualifying for INDYCAR Grand Prix
Wickens barely missed the Verizon P1 Award on Friday for the INDYCAR Grand Prix, recording a lap less than a tenth of a second behind pole winner Will Power. Still, Wickens will start on the front row when the Verizon IndyCar Series race begins Saturday afternoon.
Read More
Will Power
 
Power Hopes To Follow Winning Formula after Capturing INDYCAR Grand Prix Pole
Power earned the Verizon P1 Award for the third time for the event on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit, and he won the race both times previously after starting from pole, in 2015 and 2017.
Read More
Will Power
 
Power Tops Second Practice Session for INDYCAR Grand Prix
Driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power navigated the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in 1 minute, 9.8759 seconds (125.657 mph) to lead the field of 24 entries during the 45-minute session. Power also was fastest in the morning practice.
Read More
Tamika Catchings
 
Indiana Fever Legend Catchings To Wave Green Flag To Start INDYCAR Grand Prix
Four-time Olympic gold medalist and Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings will serve as honorary starter for the INDYCAR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 12 - 16 of 646