Japanese driver, engine make winning combo at Indy

But with a six-car team at Indy, Michael Andretti has yet to get his son to the finish line first.

Takuma Sato has become the first Japanese driver to claim victory at the Indianapolis 500 after overtaking three-time victor Helio Castroneves with just six laps remaining.

The other big story on Sunday was the collective sigh of relief after 2008 Indy 500 victor Scott Dixon walked away unscathed from one of the scariest wrecks in the race's history.

"My tires were gone", Castroneves said. No more Chevrolet or Honda, not that you could tell this year anyway.

"Who knows where we could have finished?" is an apt question for it all to end on for Alonso. So close to get the fourth (win). I feel really bad for Fernando. "I'm really trying. I'm not giving up this dream and I know it's going to happen". I didn't know if I can be as quick as anyone in an IndyCar.

Sato used an outside pass of Castroneves entering Turn 1 with five laps remaining, and then went on to win by.2 of a second with rookie Ed Jones finishing third. "I'm back on the podium again, but this is the highest podium", Sato said.

"I'm a little beaten up there. It just didn't suck in".

Sato's triumph capped a somewhat unusual Indy 500 that may well end up being remembered as a classic. Five years ago on the final lap, he pushed inside of Dario Franchitti to try to take the lead in Turn 1. Everyone walked away, but that narrowed the contenders to Sato, Castroneves, Jones and Max Chilton, who was leading at the time.

Many wondered if an experienced Formula One driver competing for Andretti Autosport could win the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. But Helio really drives fair. "I'm so happy for him. I'm extremely happy for the final result".

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Castroneves said their cars made light contact. "I was like, 'Man, this guy was not breakable'".

Dixon's day ended in much more frightening fashion when, after 53 laps, his vehicle was hit by that of Jay Howard after the Briton went into the wall.

"When I saw Scott flipping, I just tried to avoid it", Castroneves said.

"Ryan had a failure, I don't know if that was the same as ours", Brown said. During its hang time, Castroneves actually drove his vehicle under Dixon's; he sped by in the infield grass without incurring a scratch.

France's Simon Pagenaud was never a contender Sunday, and two-time 500 victor Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, led only two laps and finished sixth. Dixon's cockpit was spared any major damage, and the four-time series champion was OK afterward. I won two times there, I won two world championships.

Four of those entries combined to lead 95 of the 200 laps Sunday, and Takuma Sato held off Helio Castroneves to give the team owner his third win in fourth years. Like the other Team Penske drivers, Castroneves is mentored by Mears, another daily reminder of team greatness. "Yeah, I need to keep pursuing this challenge because winning the Indy 500 is not completed".

First was the news that Fernando Alonso, a two-time champion in Formula One, would skip out of the Monaco Grand Prix to race in his first Indianapolis 500.

The Indianapolis 500, often shortened to Indy 500, is quiet different from Formula 1, where he has plied his trade for over a decade. And for a while, it appeared that the gamble might pay off with the ultimate prize, as Alonso battled frequently among the leaders in the race's early stages. I'll absolutely take a fast auto any day over one that's trotting around in the back that's going to finish the race. I think, if anything, I blame all of us for pushing Honda so hard. "I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself", Alonso said. "That would be the biggest one". He's bounced from KV Racing to Rahal Letterman Lanigan to A.J. Foyt Enterprises, and this year, to Andretti Autosport, the best equipment he has steered in the series thus far.


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