For the second time of his career, Takuma Sato of Tokyo, Japan, has won the Indianapolis 500. The 43-year-old from Rahal Letteman Lanigan Racing previously won the Indianapolis 500 in 2017 with Andretti Autosport,
Sato, who started on the outside of row one, behind the pole sitter Marco Andretti of Nazareth, PA, and Scott Dixon of New Zealand, became the first driver from Rahal Letterman Racing to win the Indianapolis 500 since Buddy Rice of Phoenix, AZ won in 2004. Interestingly, Rice and Sato have delivered the only two wins ever for Rahal Letterman Racing. As a driver, Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500.
In 2017, Sato became the first Asian driver to ever win the Indianapolis 500. Now he has won the most prestigious open-wheel auto race in the world twice. Only 19 other drivers have won the Indianapolis 500 on multiple occasions.
On Sunday, Sato also became the first Indianapolis 500 winner in an empty stadium. Nobody was allowed in the stands because of coronavirus. There have been 85, 932 cases of coronavirus in the state of Indiana, with 3220 total deaths, 18, 581 active cases, and 64, 131 recovered cases. There were discussions and consideration to host the Indianapolis 500 at 25% capacity, but that plan was later reconsidered, as it was determined it would be too unsafe to have spectators.
This was Sato’s sixth career title on the Indycar circuit. In addition to his two Indianapolis 500 wins, Sato won in Long Beach in 2013, Portland in 2018, and Birmingham and Madison, IL, in 2019. When Sato won in Long Beach seven years ago, he became the first Japanese driver too win an IndyCar race.
With the win, Sato moves into sixth place in the Indycar Standings with 207 points. Scott Dixon of New Zealand is the leader with 335 points.
There are five more races scheduled in the 2020 IndyCar season. There are two races in Madison, IL, on August 29 and 30, two more at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 2 and 3, and another in St. Petersburg, FL on October 25.