IndyCar newsflash: Takuma Sato clinches second Indy 500 victory

IndyCar newsflash: Takuma Sato clinches second Indy 500 victory
Joe Skibinski

Takuma Sato won the Indy 500 for the second time after 2017 – Spencer Pigot unhurt after horrific crash – Pato O’Ward the surprise of the season so far

On August 23, 2020 the time had finally come: The 104th edition of the Indy 500, in the USA also known as ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’, was finally allowed to take place after the cancellation due to the pandemic earlier in May.

Even though the race had to take place without spectators, this did not prevent the 33 starters from delivering the titled ‘great spectacle’. After 200 laps of racing action, Takuma Sato crowned himself Indy 500 champion for the second time after 2017.

The Japanese driver was in the leading pack right from the start and showed perfect timing in keeping his tires and gasoline in perfect condition towards the end of the race. 15 laps before the end of the race, Sato took the lead and ultimately benefited from a horrendous crash by Spencer Pigot five laps from the end, which ensured that the race was finished under yellow.

After 111 laps in the lead, championship leader Scott Dixon was narrowly beaten by Sato, while Graham Rahal secured third place on the Indy 500 podium after a strong drive. Fourth and fifth place were rounded out by Santino Ferrucci and reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.

The Penske driver (251 points) thus collected further important points in the fight for his title defense and is currently in second place overall behind Dixon (335 points) and ahead of McLaren-SP driver Pato O’Ward (218 points).

Spencer Pigot uninjured after horrific crash

Credits: Mike Young

In the final phase of the Indy 500, it was Pigot who caused some nasty scenes. Five laps before the end of the race the American lost his car at turn 4. First he smashed into the outer safer-barrier-protected concrete wall and then crashed into the wall of the pit entrance on the opposite side, protected only by stacks of tires.

The entire right side of the car was completely destroyed by the double impact, but the new Aeroscreen, which has been introduced this season, resisted and probably saved Pigot from possible head injuries. Although the medical team had to assist him in getting out of his crashed car and provided Pigot with direct medical care, the 26-year-old gave the all-clear on his Twitter page soon after.

After extensive examinations Pigot was allowed to leave the hospital that very evening. In his Twitter post, he not only thanked the medical team and the hospital, but also used the occasion to congratulate team-mate Sato on his second Indy 500 victory.

Pato O’Ward the surprise of the season so far

The Mexican Patricio ‘Pato’ O’Ward currently lies in a sensational third place in the overall standings after seven championship races. The 21-year-old McLaren-SP driver already has five top 10 results to his credit, including a sensational second place in Road America.

The Indy Lights champion from 2018 has thus diligently collected points for his new team. O’Ward was also impressive in the Indy 500. After a well calculated drive, the youngster finished in sixth as the best Indy 500 rookie.

Credits: Joe Skibinski

Chris Liemann