Sato wins crash-filled Indy 500, Alonso retires

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Takuma Sato made up for past heartbreak at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, passing Helio Castroneves with five laps to go to win his first Indy 500.

The former Formula One driver earned team owner Michael Andretti his fifth Indy 500 win as a car owner. He has now won three of the last four editions of the iconic race.

Sato's pass of Castroneves stood in sharp contrast to his finish in the 2012 Indianapolis. Racing leader Dario Franchitti on the final lap, he spun out. Franchitti got the win, and Sato was left with the one that got away.

He made up for that Sunday, though, with his second IndyCar Series victory.

"It's beautfiul. I grabbed something I left over in 2012," Sato told ABC.

Sato said he didn't worry about a repeat of that 2012 incident.

"Helio really drives fair. Really fair. I can trust him," Sato told ABC. "Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it."

While the race featured 35 lead changes and a record 15 different leaders, 11 cautions marred the action. The most spectacular incident came on lap 53 and involved Scott Dixon and Jay Howard.

After Howard hit the outside wall, his car drifted down the track. Dixon plowed into Howard, and Dixon's car went airborne, flipping over sidefirst into the barriers on the inside of the track. Dixon's ploughed through the fencing before landing cockpit first on the track and bouncing over onto its wheels. Castroneves' car passed under Dixon's car as it soared through the air.

Both Dixon and Howard quickly climbed from their cars and were checked and released by the track's medical center, although Dixon later returned and left the Speedway wearing a boot on his left ankle.

Dixon, a four-time IndyCar Series champion and the 2008 Indy 500 winner, had started the race on the pole, and was the heavy favorite to win.

"(I'm) a little beaten up," Dixon told ABC. "It was definitely a bit of a rough ride. ... I'm glad everybody was OK. It was definitely a wild ride for sure."

Fernando Alonso avoided any problems for the majority of the race and led on two occasions, but the reliability problems that have dogged him in F1 were also present on Sunday, and he was forced to retire with 20 laps remaining.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION:

1. Takuma Sato
2. Helio Castroneves
3. Ed Jones
4. Max Chilton
5. Tony Kanaan 
6. Juan Pablo Montoya
7. Alexander Rossi
8. Marco Andretti
9. Gabby Chaves
10. Carlos Munoz