Indianapolis 500 Wrapup-Life begins at 40 for Takuma Sato

Photo: indycar, Chris Owens

Some random thoughts about Sunday’s 104th Indianapolis 500

In his last four Indianapolis 500s, Takuma Sato has two wins and a third place finish. Prior to his first win in 2017, Sato had never finished higher than 13th at Indianapolis. Sato won his first 500 at the age of 40. he has added two more top threes at Indianapolis since then.

It is probably a good thing that there was a repeat winner this year. It would have been a shame if a first time winner didn’t get to hear the cheers from the fans as he drove around on his cool down lap.

I hope I never have to watch the race on live television again. The commercials came at inopportune times, Leigh Diffey mentioned the drivers’ kids in the middle of a first place battle, and they seemed behind on every accident. I feel sorry for those of you who have to do this every year. So much was missing. I’m still glad NBC covers the races and they still do a better job than ABC did, but the commercial breaks were frustrating.

It was eerie seeing the opening ceremonies taking place in an empty track. “(Back Home Again In) Indiana was still emotional, but the silence afterwards was jarring.

The penalty on Rossi was appropriate. I am surprised Sato didn’t get at least a warning for his move on Dixon.

It was a decent race with more passing than I expected. I really enjoyed the final two stints. They had great battles for position. Have to wonder what a green ending would have been like, but races have been shortened by rain with someone charging towards the lead.

It was a rough day for the rookies. Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou looked great early. P{alou crashed and VeeKay had issues in the pits. Pato O’Ward ended as the highest finishing rookie and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

Dixon now has an 85 point lead over Josef Newgarden for the series championship. He is in good shape with seven races left, none of which pay double points.

Dixon is now third on the all time Indianapolis 500 laps led list.

It seems that hat the accidents caused more fire and left more fluid on the track than I remember seeing in a while. Maybe it was the lack of a crowd which made the wall contacts louder, but every hit this year seemed harder than I remember hits sounding.

It’s been a while since Team Penske wasn’t a factor in the 500.

Sato improved to sixth in season points. will he stay in the top 10?

Takuma Sato becomes the 20th multiple winner of the Indianapolis 500. The two time club includes Tommy Milton, Bill Vukovich, Rodger Ward, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser, Jr., and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Since 2013 Alexander Rossi is the only driver under the age of 30 to win the 500. There may be a youth movement in the series, but the veterans own this race.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan is the first team other than Team Penske or Andretti Autosport to win the 500 since 2013.

Sunday was a rough day for Ed Carpenter Racing. Conor Daly crashed. Rimus Veekay ran well early until he came into the pits too hard and hit a crewman.Ed Carpenter needed a front wing replaced early and finished 13 laps behind the winner.

The aeroscreen once again helped keep the drivers safe. James Davison said it protected from the fire and fumes after his brake caught fire. It appeared that the screen kept debris out of the cockpit on some other incidents. I’m sure Indycar officials will have a look at spencer pigot’s car. it appears a suspension piece mat have poked through the screen. The aeroscreen was definitely scratched up.

Very glad that Pigot is okay after that hit.

The purse of $7,500,000 was the lowest since 1991. Sato’s take was $1,350,000.

The Finish

The NTT Indycar Series made the right call in finishing the race under yellow. A red flag would have meant a 60-90 minute delay for repairs. That’s too long to wait for just one green flag lap. When you watch a race, there no  guarantee that there will be a dramatic ending just as there is not guarantee that a basketball game will always end on a three pointer at the buzzer or a baseball game will end with a walk off home run. The majority of contests end rather routinely.

While finishes under yellow are disappointing, I don’t have a problem with them. Life doesn’t always work out how we want it to.

Moving On

The series moves to World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis for a double header this coming weekend. I will post the weekend schedule in a bit.

Scott Dixon now leads Josef Newgarden by 84 points, and looks to be in good shape for his sixth title. I’m not going to crown him yet, but with the schedule in danger of shrinking some more, Dixon is in good shape.

We are still waiting to confirm a date for Mid Ohio, and find out whether fans will be allowed. This weekend the track is allowing 20% capacity. This could possibly be the last Indycar weekend with fans this year.

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