Takuma Sato believes his team had “the best car” on track this past weekend, as the 43 year-old Japanese driver dubbed “Wild Thing” won his second Indianapolis 500 fighting fuel mileage and a charging Scott Dixon.
“I think we had the best car,” Sato said.
“Only we were a lap short from Dixie [Dixon] in terms of the fuel strategy, and [making fuel mileage to the finish] was a little tight. I couldn’t use max power to switch back and forth.
“And Dixon kept coming through Turn 4 [on the final green flag lap] and I was just able to hold him off. This is unbelievable.”
Sato held off a dominant Dixon, who had led 111 of 200 laps in the race, as the two worked their way through lap traffic late in the race. Sato was worried about his fuel mileage after the last set of pit stops, but still managed to get the best of the five time NTT IndyCar Series champion.
“It was a little bit fast on the last few laps,” Sato said in a press release.
“Then we had to drive into the pit one lap before Scott [Dixon]. That put us a lot of difficulty in terms of the fuel mileage. I wanted to go to the full power, which Honda and HPD give us incredible performance, but still I have to save the fuel. I was back and forth.”
“Best power when Dixie is coming. To pull it off that way, it is simply amazing.”
This was Sato’s first Indy 500 win with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, winning the 2017 event with Andretti Autosport. His win in 2017 meant that he was the first Japanese and non-Caucasian driver to win the prestigious race.
This was RLLR’s second Indy 500 win, with Buddy Rice winning the event from the pole in 2004.
“Taku” will be looking to continue his winning ways this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, where he won last season.