Kurt Verlin
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Sato Wins for Honda at Indy 500

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Takuma Sato wins 2020 Indy 500
Photo: Honda

Takuma Sato should probably thank Fernando Alonso. So far, every time the Spaniard starts in the Indianapolis 500, Sato ends up winning the race.

But while Alonso’s first outing at the Brickyard was marred by numerous Honda engine failures, the Japanese manufacturer came back in force for this year’s event.

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Indeed, Honda dominated the 2020 Indy 500 with a 1-2-3-4 sweep and celebrated its 13th victory at the famous oval.

Prior to the final pit stops, it was Scott Dixon who dominated in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, leading an impressive 111 laps as he hunted down his second Indy 500 victory. He had started second and taken the lead at the green flag, and he seemed to get a lucky break when his main rival, Alexander Rossi, earned a penalty and then crashed out of the race on lap 143.

But as he had in 2017, Sato made his move in the final stage of the race. Both he and teammate Graham Rahal closed the gap to the lead pair, inheriting 2nd and 3rd place after Rossi’s crash. After the last round of pit stops, Sato followed Dixon and passed him on lap 185 before fending off several overtake attempts as they both worked their way through lapped traffic.

When the race ended under the caution flag on lap 196 instead of 200, because of Spencer Pigot’s hard crash at the exit of turn 4, Sato was still in the lead and was named the victor. By the time he got to the checkered flag, Sato had led only twice for a total of 27 laps.

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2020 Indy 500 photo finish
Photo: Honda

“Huge congrats to Takuma,” Dixon said after the race. “He drove his pants off today. Rahal Letterman Lanigan, they were super fast, obviously finishing first and third. It was good day for Honda. I want to give a massive thank you to them. We’re very proud to be powered by HPD and Honda, and it’s nice to get some points. But it’s hard when the win slips away like that.”

Rahal rounded out the podium with a third-place finish, and behind him, Santino Ferrucci celebrated an incredible race with Vasser-Sullivan Honda, having progressed from 19th place on the grid.

The 2020 Indy 500 was an impressive showing for Honda, which not only swept the top four but also claimed eleven of the top 15 spots. Meanwhile, all of the bottom 10 drivers (excluding those that crashed) were powered by Chevrolet. A race to forget for the American engine manufacturer.